Opposing Maharashtra government's decision to allow the transfer of the Elgar Parishad case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), NCP chief Sharad Pawar, on Friday, said that the CM had the right to do so. Disapproving the move, he said that the Maharashtra government should not have accepted the Centre's demand. Pawar had first promised a probe into the case as he opposed the BJP government's alleged problem with dissent.
"The CM has the right to take a decision allowing the case to be transferred to NIA. But I feel that the Centre must not have given the case to the NIA as it was being investigated by Maharashtra state police. At the same time, it is not right for Maharashtra government to accept the Centre's demand like this," he said to ANI.
Earlier on Thursday, Maharashtra Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Sanjay Kumar said that the state Home department has no objection to the Elgar Parishad case being entrusted to the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). His statement comes in direct contrast to Home Minister Anil Deshmukh who has slammed the Centre's 'unilateral case transfer' decision. But Deshmukh has accepted that it is the CM's right to overrule the Home Ministry's decision.
Previously on Friday, a Pune court reserved its order on the transferring of the Bhima-Koregaon case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The Maharashtra state government, in an application filed before the court, objected to transferring all the court records, seized articles from the file of this court to an NIA court in Mumbai. While the order was to be pronounced on Friday, the Bombay High Court has rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde and has given them 4-weeks time to approach the Supreme Court.
Earlier on February 3, the NIA registered an FIR in the Elgar Parishad case charging 11 people, 10 days after the case was handed over to the agency from the Maharashtra Police. The 11 named in the FIR - including the nine activists currently in jail - have been charged under the provisions of the anti-terror law UAPA and the IPC, according to PTI. Meanwhile, CM Thackeray had said in an interview with Saamana, " Even though Sharad Pawar has made a comment it doesn't mean the police investigation will follow the same angle". NIA took over the probe on January 24 under which nine activists - Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferriera, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao have been charged with 'conspiracy to assassinate PM Narendra Modi', 'overthrow the government', 'waging war against the Government of India'.