Koregaon Bhima violence: recording of statements starts

Police detain activists during a protest against the arrest of revolutionary writer Varavara Rao and other activists in connection with Bhima-Koregaon violence, in Hyderabad on Wednesday, Aug 29, 2018. (PTI Photo)

A two-member judicial commission, set up to probe the Koregaon Bhima violence at Pune in Maharashtra, began its proceedings here by recording evidence of a witness, even as an activist urged that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis be summoned before the panel.

A 40-year-old graphics designer from Maharashtra's Thane district deposed as a witness and told the commission on Wednesday that she was among those injured in the violence.

During the cross-examination by right-wing leader Milind Ekbote's lawyer Niteen Pradhan, the woman said she was among those injured in stone-pelting on a bus.

Ekbote is one of the accused in the Koregaon Bhima violence case.

Before the commission began its proceedings, a social activist, Sanjay Lakhe Patil, filed an application seeking the panel to summon Fadnavis to appear before it.

Patil's counsel B A Desai told the commission, headed by former Calcutta High Court Chief Justice J N Patel, that Fadnavis held the Home portfolio and hence, his evidence should also be recorded by the panel.

Desai relied on the state government's affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, alleging that Ekbote was responsible for the violence.

"The chief minister, who holds the Home portfolio, should be summoned by the commission for examination," Desai said.

The panel, however, refused to pass any order and asked Patil to present prima facie evidence against the chief minister after which it would consider the application.

Violence had occurred on December 31 last year at Koregaon Bhima village in Maharashtra's Pune district in which one person was killed.

The government had set up the commission in February this year to inquire into the violence.

The commission will probe the sequence of events leading to the violence, the people responsible for it, if there were adequate police personnel in and around Koregaon Bhima at that time, and suggest measures to avoid repetition of such incidents. 

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