Pune: Milind Ekbote, the President of Samast Hindu Aghadi organisation, and main accused in the Koregaon Bhima violence of January 1 was arrested by the Pune Rural Police after his pre-arrest bail application was rejected by the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday.
Last month, while extending interim relief from arrest to Ekbote till March 14, SC had asked the Maharashtra government why he had not been arrested earlier. The apex court had also directed the police to conduct inquiries with Ekbote and submit an affidavit about the progress of the case related to violence. Accordingly, he had appeared before the Shikrapur police station, where the FIR is registered, and he was questioned for several hours. Police submitted a report before the apex court and opposed his anticipatory bail application.
Hearing in SC
A bench comprising Justices MB Lokur, Kurian Joseph and Deepak Gupta rejected his plea taking into account the submissions of Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, appearing for Maharashtra, that 177 person were injured in the incident and Ekbote was the "main person" instigating the mob.
"The case is pending against you. You are creating communal violence. What is this? You are spreading communal disharmony," the bench told the counsel representing Ekbote.
During the hearing, Ekbote's counsel said the State has already filed a status report before the court and the apex court had earlier granted him interim protection from arrest.
He argued that Ekbote was not arrested till date despite the fact that he had gone to the police station five times.
When the counsel claimed that the accused was not present at the spot at the time of violence, the bench said, "You can create problems without sitting over there. Have you heard about social media? A person sitting in the US can do it here."
The Maharashtra government, in its affidavit filed through advocate Nishant R Katneshwarkar, had sought dismissal of Ekbote's anticipatory bail plea, saying "the petitioner has not been cooperating in the investigation by giving improbable or unscrupulous information which cannot be by any stretch of imagination relied upon. It is submitted that custodial interrogation is inevitable considering the peculiar circumstances of the present offence."
After the SC rejected his bail plea, a team from the Pune rural police Local Crime Branch (LCB) detained Ekbote from his house in Shivajinagar.
A case was registered against Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide of Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, for allegedly ‘inciting’ violence that left a man dead near Koregaon-Bhima on January 1. The FIR was registered with Shikrapur police station under Pune rural police.
Anita Sawale (30) of Kalewadi had lodged a complaint on January 2 with Pimpri police station and the case was transferred to Pune rural police as the incident had taken place in their jurisdiction. She alleged that the duo had incited people who had attacked those who had gathered at Vijay Stambh at Koregaon-Bhima, about 25 km from Pune on the Ahmednagar highway, to celebrate 200 years of the famous battle there. One person had died and several others were injured while properties worth crores of rupees were damaged in the riots. (With PTI inputs)