Koregaon Bhima inquiry panel to summon Sharad Pawar

Koregaon Bhima inquiry panel to summon NCP chief Sharad Pawar for deposition

Pawar is likely to be summoned during the last phase of the hearing by the commission. PTI file photo

The Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry (CoI) has decided to summon NCP founder-President Sharad Pawar to  depose before it. 

The CoI is headed by Justice (retd) JN Patel, former Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court and comprises of Maharashtra ex-Chief Secretary Sumit Mallick. 

It may be recalled, Pawar had filed an affidavit before the commission, that he is conducting hearings in Pune, and, so far, got four extensions.

During the hearing on Monday, Justice Patel has noted that Pawar would be called to depose.

"In this respect, summons would be issued," said Ashish Satpute, the lawyer of the two-member CoI.

However, NCP has denied receiving any summons.

"Pawar saheb has not received any  summons so far to appear before the two member Bhima Koregaon inquiry commission. The summons as and when received will be duly honoured," NCP spokesperson Mahesh Tapase said.

Advocate Pradeep Gawade, who represents witness Sagar Shinde, a member of Vivek Vichar Manch,  pointed out that in recent press conferences, Pawar has expressed doubts over the role of Pune police and alleged involvement of Right-wing activists Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote in the 1 January, 2018 riots at Koregaon Bhima in Pune. It may be recalled the then Chief Minister and now Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis had given clean chit to Bhide. Ekbote was arrested and is currently on bail.

Pawar had sought a Special Investigation Team to re-examine the case. However, the Centre directed the NIA to take over the case.

After initial resistance by Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of NCP and senior Congress leaders like Mallikarjun Kharge,  Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray decided to give the case to NIA.

Later, he clarified that the Elgar Parishad case has not been given but only the Koregaon Bhima case.

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