MUMBAI: A day after the Centre transferred the politically sensitive Bhima Koregaon case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said on Saturday that the Union government’s decision smacks of conspiracy to cover up the role of the previous government in the state led by the BJP in misusing the police machinery to frame social activists. Pawar, whose party is a coalition partner in the Shiv Sena - led government in Maharashtra, said the state will not remain a mute spectator and will do its own probe so that the truth comes out.
“The Maharashtra government will initiate a probe to check if the police fraudulently made up cases against social activists and writers,” he said, adding that the Centre’s handing over the case to NIA in a hurry shows there is substance in the allegations that some police officials misused powers to arrest innocent people. Pawar said the government doesn’t share the previous dispensation’s view on social activists. “Speaking on social injustice does not make one as ‘anti-national’ or ‘Maoist’,” he said.
The police had used the term ‘Urban Naxals’ while probing the activists’ role in the Bhima Koregaon riots. Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh said the State government would seek legal opinion on the Centre’s decision. Extending support to Pawar, Congress’ Rahul Gandhi slammed the BJP government at the Centre. He said anyone who opposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah’s “agenda of hate” were branded “urban Naxals”. “Bhima-Koregaon is a symbol of resistance that the government’s NIA stooges can never erase,” Gandhi said in his tweet.