Sena slams Govt for handing Elgar Parishad case to NIA

Shiv Sena slams Centre for handing Elgar Parishad case to NIA

Questioning the sudden move, the Sena asked whether the Centre wanted the "truth" in the case to remain uncovered

Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray interacting with media. (PTI Photo)

Attacking the Centre for handing over the probe into the sensitive Elgar Parishad case to the NIA, the Shiv Sena on Wednesday invoked federalism in the country and accused the Modi government of "interfering" in the affairs of "non-BJP" Maharashtra.

Questioning the sudden move, the Sena, which heads the Maha Vikas Aghadi government comprising the NCP and the Congress, asked whether the Centre wanted the "truth" in the case to remain uncovered.

"India is a union of states. Every state has its own rights and pride. The Centre forcing its way is inviting instability," the Sena said in an editorial in its Marathi mouthpiece 'Saamana'.

The Centre recently ordered the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take over the probe into the Elgar case which has been probed by the Pune Police for suspected naxal links.

Police are investigating whether provocative speeches were made at the conclave held on December 31, 2017 which allegedly led to caste violence around Koregaon Bhima village in Pune district the next day.

Police had first used the term 'urban naxals' during the investigation after arresting nine activists and lawyers, including Telugu poet Varavara Rao and Sudha Bharadwaj.

Questioning timing of the Centre's move, Maharashtra Home Minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh had last week alleged that the state government was reviewing the investigation.

Accusing the Centre of doing "vengeful politics" in the editorial, the Sena questioned its 'selective' approach towards Maharashtra, a state ruled by Opposition parties.

"The NIA has intervened in Maharashtra, but several such incidents are taking place in the states being ruled by the BJP. Why the Centre didn't interfered there? This doesn't augur well....."it stated.

The Sena, a former ally of the BJP, termed it as a "shocking and suspicious" move.

"Given the way the Centre handed over the probe to the NIA, did it not want the truth to come out?" it questioned.

The Sena said it was told by the previous BJP-led government in the state that the Elgar Parishad--Koregaon Bhima episode was a "political and national conspiracy", and that there was a "secret plot" to bring down the "national power" and harm Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The Sena was the main constituent in the erstwhile BJP-led government in Maharashtra.

"The previous government had cited unnamed letters and e-mails as the evidence to drive home its point (of conspiracy theory in the case). However, people have not yet understood exactly what was the conspiracy to bring down the power of the country," it stated.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party further said the Centre "turned restless" after NCP chief Sharad Pawar called for reviewing the investigation into the case.

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