Maharashtra Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad on Friday slammed the BJP-led Central government for transferring the probe of the 2018 Koregaon-Bhima violence case to the National Investigation Agency without the state government's consent. Taking to the microblogging site, Awhad said that the central government is overstepping on the rights of state government and also the transfer is uncalled for and unconstitutional.
आजचा NIA कडे भीमाकोरेगाव च्या केसचा तपास देण्याचा निर्णय हा असंविधानीक व राज्यसरकारच्या अधिकारांवर गदा आणणारा आणि त्याहीवरती कोर्टात आरोपपत्र दाखल झाल्यानंतर तपास पूर्ण झाला आहे अस समजले जाते.— Dr.Jitendra Awhad (@Awhadspeaks) January 24, 2020
आता NIA हे नाविण्याने तपास कोणता करणार?#BhimaKoregaon pic.twitter.com/1QeVUNL0gF
In a video posted by Awhad on Twitter, he said, "The action of the Central government of taking over the Bhima Koregaon case and handing it over to the NIA is an insult of the Constitution. The Constitution has many times spoken about the relationship between the centre and the state. it has made three subject one is concurrent, one is central and other states. Under which Defence goes to centre and Police and Law and order come to the state. Now when you take over certain cases from the state then you are overstepping on the rights and authorities of the state government, which have been given to the state by the Constitution of India. It's a direct insult of the Constitution."
"It also goes against the NIA Act. In NIA Act chapter 3, section 6, para three clearly states that the agency has to take over the case within 15 days after and when it is communicated to the NIA by the state government. Section 10 is also clear that if it is not in the mind of the state government then no agency can take over the case. It is a direct attack on the constitution and the federal structure. This action was uncalled for. Three years when the BJP government was in power in the state why didn't the central government take the decision. The same police are investigating the case so why there is a sudden fear now. It smells fishy and the people of Maharashtra will not tolerate it," he added.
Earlier, the case was being probed by the Pune Police. Incidentally, as per the NIA Act, when the Centre deems any case fit to be probed by the NIA, the state police has to transfer relevant records to the Central agency.
Awhad’s statement comes a day after Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh reviewed the Bhima Koregaon and Elgar Parishad cases. Earlier, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar had also demanded a fresh probe into the matter. According to Deshmukh, an SIT could be set up if the Pune police were unable to substantiate their charges against the arrested activists.
Violence had erupted at Koregaon-Bhima village in Pune district on January 1, 2018, where supporters had gathered to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. This resulted in the death of one person and leaving several injured. Subsequently, the Pune police arrested activists such as Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, and Vernon Gonsalves, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale and P Varavara Rao for allegedly inciting the Bhima Koregoan violence through their speech at the Elgar Parishad meeting on December 31, 2017.