CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Saturday condemned the BJP-led Central government for transferring the probe of the 2018 Koregaon-Bhima case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Taking to Twitter, he called the move 'anti-democratic' and 'anti-federalism'. Yechury also alleged that the Centre is scared of the truth being exposed.
Slamming Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he further said, "As the CM of Gujarat, Modi kept on harping that the NIA 'is contrary to our federal spirit'. If that was opposed to the federal spirit, his recent move against Maharashtra state govt is meant to bury federalism in India. (sic)"
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 condemned the move and said that the transfer happened without the state government's consent.
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.