Slamming the Maharashtra government for demoralising the police, former CM Devendra Fadnavis, on Saturday hailed the transfer of the case from the Maharashtra police to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). He emphasized that the case was not limited to Maharashtra and had been argued in the Supreme Court as well with orders passed in the police's favour. Moreover, hailing the Pune police's thorough investigation in the case, he said they had unmasked 'urban naxals'.
"Maharashtra police had investigated properly and exposed the 'urban naxals'. This case went to the Supreme Court where it had been judged in the police's favour. After the formation of the new government, attempts to mislead public, demoralise police in charge-sheeted cases were done for vote politics. I think the decision to transfer the case to NIA is right as this is not limited to Maharashtra as we can see its spread throughout the country," he said.
A day after Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh and Deputy CM Ajit Pawar held a review meeting with Pune police on the Bhima-Koregaon case, the NIA took over the probe. Deshmukh has condemned the move saying that the transfer happened without the state government's consent. The state government was mulling to constitute an SIT to review the evidence and probe into the case. Sources reported that the Pune police officials were unhappy with the new govt raising questions on their probe.
Earlier on December 21, NCP chief Sharad Pawar demanded a Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the police action against activists in the Elgar Parishad case. Draft charges have been framed against the nineteen accused including the nine activists - Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferriera, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao by the police. The draft charges include 'conspiracy to assassinate PM Narendra Modi', 'overthrow the government', 'waging war against the Government of India' under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)
It further state that some of the arrested are active members of the banned CPI (Maoists) party. If convicted under 'waging war against India' faces the death sentence or imprisonment for life, as per IPC section 121. The police believe that the speech at the Elgar Parishad meeting on December 31, 2017 incited violence on January 1, 2018, which had resulted in the death of one person and several others had been injured. Currently, all accused are in jail after their bail pleas were rejected.