Process To Review Case Begins, Mins Meet Top Officials

TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Mumbai:

The Maharashtra government has begun the process of reviewing the Elgar Parishad case in which nine activists have been arrested by Pune police for their alleged links to the banned CPI (Maoist).

It is the police’s case that the CPI (Maoist) supported and funded the Elgar Parishad in Pune on December 31, 2017, and alleged inflammatory speeches at the conclave contributed to the caste riots at the Koregaon Bhima war memorial the next day.

Only one of the nine arrested activists, Sudhir Dhawale, was present at the Elgar Parishad. The riots cases are being probed by Pune rural police.

On Thursday, home minister Anil Deshmukh, along with deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, met senior police officials in Mumbai to review the cases and even sought documents from senior police officials pertaining to the case. The meeting, which started around 8am and lasted for nearly 2 hours, was attended by senior officials, including DGP Subodh Jaiswal and state intelligence commissioner Rashmi Shukla. The investigating officer of the Elgar case, ACP Shivaji Pawar, and IPS officer Ravindra Kadam, who was the joint commissioner of police, Pune, when the violence broke out at Koregaon Bhima, briefed Deshmukh and Pawar.

“We could not complete the review today. We will be holding another review meeting very soon. But we have sought details regarding the evidence that the police had while submitting the chargesheets in the Elgar case. We want to know all the details to understand how the case was probed, which led to the arrests of these activists,” Deshmukh said.

The minister also said there was a demand that the case be re-investigated.

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar has demanded the formation of an SIT under a retired judge to conduct an independent inquiry into the cases filed against human rights activists in the Elgar Parishad case.

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Sharad Pawar had previously said the arrest of activists in Elgar case was “wrong” and “vengeful”. Deshmukh said, “In the previous government, anyone who did not toe their line was termed as an ‘urban-naxal’, which is not correct. And so, we have asked the police for documents and evidence for the arrests made by them.”

Sources who were present at the meeting said Deshmukh asked the police how did they get the letter purportedly written by one of the arrested activist, Rona Wilson, in which he had allegedly mentioned senior comrades having “proposed concrete steps to end Modi-raj” and a plot to execute “a Rajiv Gandhi-type incident by targeting the PM’s road shows”. “The credibility of the letter was also questioned at the meeting. A discussion on the electronic evidences related to the case was also held,” an official said. Sources said the police have handed over the entire list of forensic evidence to Deshmukh. “It is likely that an SIT may be set up. But as of now, no such decision was taken as the review will go on,” another senior official said.

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