Concerning the criticism of the central government for transferring the probe of Bima-Koregaon violence to NIA, Rajya Sabha MP Ramdas Athawale has said the government of India has all the right to give it to NIA or any agency it wishes if it wants to investigate a certain case and added that the decision is not at all unconstitutional as said by the opposition.
The Bhima-Koregaon violence consisted of attacks on Dalits. It caused riots. Prior to that, an event called Elgar Parishad was also conducted which hosted several Naxalites. When police found proof, it arrested the Naxalites. Maharashtra government has also given orders to conduct an investigation which is also good. And if the case is so serious, the government of India has the right to conduct an inquiry on the matter. It is not at all unconstitutional, it is the responsibility of the centre to conduct an inquiry on it", said Athawale.
On December 18, last year, the police had framed draft charges 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. The charges included 'conspiracy to assassinate PM Narendra Modi', 'overthrow the government', and 'waging war against the Government of India' under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The charges also stated that some arrested persons are active members of the banned CPI party.
The 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. While the Pune police booked several activists for inciting the violence, they are also being probed for having alleged Naxal links. Currently, all the accused are in jail after their bail pleas were rejected.