The cracks in the Congress-NCP-Shiv Sena alliance government in Maharashtra has started widening with NCP chief Sharad Pawar targeting Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the Centre over transfer of Bhima-Koregaon violence case to National Investigation Agency (NIA). The chief of NCP, a key constituent of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government, termed the move “constitutionally wrong” and a violation of the state’s jurisdiction over law-and-order issues.
“The behaviour of some in the Maharashtra Police (involved in Bhima-Koregaon investigation) was objectionable. I wanted the role of these officers to be investigated. But ministers in the Maharashtra government met police officers one morning, and the centre ordered its transfer to the NIA at 3 pm the same day. This is wrong as per the constitution because criminal investigations come within the state’s jurisdiction,” news agency ANI quoted Pawar as saying.
He said that it was wrong of the Narendra Modi-led central government to take the investigation of Bhima-Koregaon case out of the state’s hands as well as of the Maharashtra government to support the decision.
The case, in which human rights activists have been arrested, pertains to caste violence that took place near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in Pune district on January 1, 2018, following alleged provocative speeches at the Elgar Parishad conclave held the previous day.
The Centre had earlier this month handed over the probe of the case to the NIA. It is being alleged that the Elgar Parishad event was backed by Maoists. Although Maharashtra government allowed the central agency to take over the probe, chief minister Uddhav Thackeray had said that he should state government should’ve been consulted on the matter.
“I was surprised by the Centre’s decision. Doesn’t the Centre trust the state’s investigating agencies. Due to such incidents, there is a problem in Centre-state relations,” he had said while speaking to Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana’s executive editor and party MP Sanjay Raut.