A two-member commission probing the Bhima Koregaon violence in 2018 in Pune district has summoned Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar to appear before it on May 5 and 6.
Earlier, the commission had summoned Pawar to depose before it on February 23 and 24. However, Pawar requested the Commission to grant a fresh date for his cross-examination in the case.
The NCP chief had filed an affidavit before the commission on October 8, 2018. In the affidavit, Pawar had said that he was not in a position to blame any particular organisation for the violence but blamed the state’s law-enforcement agencies for their failure to prevent it.
In February 2020, social group Vivek Vichar Manch member Sagar Shinde filed an application before the commission, seeking the summoning of Sharad Pawar in view of certain statements made by him in the media about the 2018 caste violence. In his plea, Shinde cited a press conference of Pawar.
As per the application of Shinde, at the press meet Pawar alleged that right-wing activists Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide had created a “different” atmosphere in Koregaon Bhima and its vicinity.
“In the same press conference, Pawar also alleged that the role of Pune city police commissioner is doubtful and must be investigated. These statements are within the purview of the terms of reference of this commission and therefore, they are relevant,” Shinde had said in the plea.
The applicant had also said he had reasons to believe Pawar has relevant and additional information, apart from what he has already shared in his earlier affidavit filed before the panel regarding the violence and other related matters. In his affidavit, Pawar had stated that it was unfortunate that the state government (BJP was in power at the time of the violence) and law and enforcement authorities failed to protect the interest of the common man residing at Koregaon Bhima and its vicinity.