The ministry of Home Affairs has transferred Elgar Parishad case to National Investigation Agency on Friday. It has triggered a row with the ruling Maharashtra government, which had day on Thursday had held a meeting to review the chargesheet filed against the accused, reported The Indian Express
In 2018, Maharashtra police had arrested nine activists and lawyers for allegedly inciting people at a meeting of the Elgar Parishad in Pune on December 31, 2017. Cops had claimed the activists and lawyers incited people and this led to caste violence in Bhima Koregaon on the very the next day.
Maharashtra’s Sena-NCP-Congress government had given indications that the case would be handed over to the Special Investigation Team if the Pune Police failed to substantiate the charges.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar had written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, alleging that the previous BJP government had conspired to frame the accused and a review of the case was necessary because of the abuse of power by the state and police.
Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Sudha Bhardwaj, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira are the nine people arrested in the case.
Additional Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar has confirmed that a communication in regard to the transfer of the investigation had been received from MHA.
“The Maharashtra DGP received a notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that the case has been handed over to the NIA,” said a senior official of the Maharashtra Home Department as quoted by Express
This development has surprised the state government. “Law and order is a state subject and without informing the Maharashtra government at all, the Home Ministry has given the case to NIA. This is unconstitutional and wrong. We were trying to reach to the root of why the case was registered when they took it away. They should not have interfered,” Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said as quoted by The Indian Express,
It was in the Elgar Parishad case that Pune Police used the ‘Urban Naxal’ term. Police said they had found a letter from one of the arrested accused, Delhi-based activist Rona Wilson, which allegedly pointed to a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
During the review meeting held by Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and State Home Minister Deshmukh on Thursday morning, the then Additional Commissioner of Pune Police, Shivaji Bodake, and the investigating officer, ACP Shivaji Pawar, explained on the evidence they had in the case. According to sources said it was told to the police that the so-called letter that was sent via email did not appear to have two time stamps, both of the sender and receiver, and did not appear to be authentic.
According to a report in The Indian Express, Sources in the security establishment in Delhi said intelligence agencies recently provided inputs to the Union Home Ministry that some activists associated with Left organisations were offering financial assistance to those organising protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. “It was after this that Delhi got serious about taking over the Elgar Parishad case,” a security establishment officer said.