No letter yet from Centre on NIA probe in Elgar case: Anil Deshumkh

Thursday, 30 January 2020

"We met the AG today. We told him we have heard about (the case being transferred to the NIA), but have not received the letter." said Anil Deshmukh

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government has sought advice of the Advocate General (AG) on steps to be taken if it receives any letter from the Centre on transfer of the Elgar Parishad case to the NIA, said Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Wednesday.

Deshmukh reiterated the Centre should have had taken the state into confidence before taking the step.

The minister, however, said neither he nor Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray have received the Centre's letter in this connection.

"We met the AG today. We told him we have heard about (the case being transferred to the NIA), but have not received the letter.

"We sought his advice on what should be the state's position if the Centre hands over the probe to the NIA," Deshmukh told reporters here.

The AG, the state's top law officer, has asked the government to share copy of the letter with him once it is received, the NCP minister said.

He said the Centre may have handed over the probe to the NIA as it was feared the actual instigators of the violence (at Koregaon-Bhima in Pune) "who were excluded by the previous BJP-led state government" would have been exposed had the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government inquired the episode.

Asked about an activist, Sanjay Lakhe, seeking former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to be summoned before the judicial commission probing the Koregaon-Bhima case as a witness, Deshmukh said the panel "can call anyone".

Last week, the Centre asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take over the probe into the Elgar case which has been probed by the Pune Police for suspected naxal links.

Earlier this week, an NIA team visited Pune to start the process of taking over the case, in which some human rights activists and intellectuals have been arrested for alleged Maoists links.

Police are investigating whether provocative speeches were made at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held on December 31, 2017, which allegedly led to caste violence around Koregaon- Bhima village in Pune district the next day.

The police have alleged the conclave was organised by people having links with Naxals.

A judicial commission is separately probing circumstances under which violence took place in Koregaon- Bhima.

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