Cong, NCP target govt over Bhima-Koregaon case

Congress, NCP target BJP over Bhima-Koregaon case going to NIA, CM Uddhav Thackeray silent

NCP Chief Sharad Pawar interacts with media personnel at Pune Union of Working Jounrnalist (PUWJ) in Pune, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019. (PTI Photo)

A day after National Investigation Agency was passed on the probe of the sensitive Bhima-Koregaon case from the Maharashtra police, the Congress and NCP slammed the BJP-led Centre on Saturday.

However, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is yet to speak out on the issue.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

"Anyone who opposes the MOSH agenda of hate is an Urban Naxal”. Bhima-Koregaon is a symbol of resistance that the Government’s NIA stooges can never erase," Gandhi tweeted on Saturday.

In Mumbai, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar said that the probe was transferred because the Centre feared of being exposed.

He, however, said that he was speaking on injustice and not in support of Naxalism.

Pawar had asked Thackeray to set up a Special Investigation Team and have a fresh look at the case.

The development comes as a major embarrassment to the Maha Vikas Aghadi government involving Congress-NCP and Shiv Sena.

"I strongly condemn the decision to transfer the investigation of Koregaon-Bhima case to NIA, by the Central government without any consent of Maharashtra Government," state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of NCP said on Friday late night.

"Without consulting Maharashtra government, the decision of Central Government, abruptly handing over Koregaon Bhima case to NIA is unconstitutional and against the federal structure of Union of India We strongly condemn it," said Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat, who is the state Congress President.

On Thursday, Deshmukh and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar had a detailed briefing on the case from the Pune Police.

Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis has backed the Centre's decision saying that the MVA government's act was demoralising the police force.

"The Maharashtra Police conducted a probe and exposed the Urban Naxals. Even the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Maharashtra police. Ever since the new government came to power, some people -- for the sake of votes -- have been demoralising the police. Chargesheets had even been filed in some cases, but they tried to alter charges for the sake of votes," said Fadnavis, who was then the Chief Minister and Home Minister.

The Congress and NCP has reacted sharply over the development.

NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase tweeted: "Within a day of @PawarSpeaks demanding SIT in violence, the MHA transfers the case to NIA. What is the BJP afraid of? Why have they suddenly lost faith in Maharashtra Police?"

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant tweeted: "Sudden taking over of Bhima Koregaon riot case by NIA after #MahaVikasAghadi govt started reinvestigation into inquiry of Pune police, clearly substantiates conspiracy of #BJP. Why it took 2 yrs for NIA to find that case is fit under it's jurisdiction? Strongly condemn!"

"As far as Bhima Koregaon case is concerned, I had myself gone there while the riots were taking place. But I want to say one thing that there is a commission to investigate this case. It is for the commission to decide what has to be done ahead. That is the reason why if I say anything today, it will be premature," said senior Shiv Sena leader and the then Minister of State for Home.