Koregaon-Bhima probe panel to summon Sharad Pawar

Pune :- The Inquiry Commission of Koregaon-Bhima episode has decided to summon the NCP supremo Sharad Pawar for deposition in the case of caste violence near here in 2018.
The two-member Koregaon-Bhima Inquiry Commission headed by retired Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court, JN Patel includes former Chief Secretary and the present Chief Information Officer of Maharashtra, Sumit Mullick as members. VV Palnitkar is serving as the registrar of the commission.

Maha Assembly again witnesses uproar over farm loan waiver

The NCP chief Pawar has filed an affidavit before the panel and he would be summoned to depose, the judicial panel’s lawyer Ashish Satpute told on Tuesday. “A summon to this effect will be issued,” he said. The NCP chief is likely to be summoned during the last phase of the hearing by the commission, the lawyer added.

On January 1, 2018, riots broke out in various parts of Pune district on the occasion of the 200th commemoration day of the Koregaon-Bhima battle in which the East India Company defeated the Peshwas with the help of Dalit soldiers. One person was killed in these riots and at least 11 arrested, two of whom are out on bail. All these arrests have been part of the flip-flops in the positions taken by government and the Pune Police which first blamed a Maratha faction for the riots and later blamed the December 31 ‘Elgar Parishad Dalit pride’ gathering in Pune and ‘urban naxals’ for the violence. Nine prominent persons who include human rights activists, intellectuals, social workers and lawyers among others who were arrested in the case are awaiting trial under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). These nine rights activists were arrested by the state police after branding them “urban naxalites.”

Earlier, this month, the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government gave the “final” extension to the commission till April 8 this year and asked the panel to submit its report. Last week, social group Vivek Vichar Manch member Sagar Shinde filed an application before the commission, seeking summoning of Pawar in view of certain statements made by him in the media about the 2018 caste violence. The Martaha warlord, Pawar had alleged that right-wing activists Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide had created a “different” atmosphere in Koregaon-Bhima, located on outskirts of Pune city, and its vicinity. “In the same press conference, Mr Pawar also alleges that the role of Pune city police commissioner is doubtful and must be investigated. These statements are within the purview of the terms of reference of this commission and therefore, they are relevant,” Shinde said the plea.

The applicant said he has reasons to believe Pawar has relevant and additional information, apart from what he has already shared in his earlier affidavit filed before the panel regarding the violence and other related matters. Pawar filed the affidavit before the commission on October 8, 2018.