NCP chief Sharad Pawar
NCP chief Sharad Pawar
@PawarSpeaks Twitter

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar will appear before the Koregaon-Bhima Commission on April 4. The two member Commissioner headed by retired Justice JB Patel is inquiring into the cause of Koregaon Bhima violence. On February 20, advocate Pradeep Gawade, representing a witness Sagar Shinde, had prayed to the Commission that summons be issued to Pawar to depose before it.

NCP spokesman and Maharashtra Minister of Minority Affairs Nawab Malik said Pawar will appear before the Commission on April 4 after the parliament session is over. ''The Commission had asked Pawar for a convenient date for appearing before it. Accordingly, he will appear before the panel on April 4,'' added Malik.

Pawar had filed an affidavit before the Commission in October 2018.

Malik targeted former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis saying that despite him being summoned by the Commission the latter neither appeared nor submitted any written affidavit.

On Tuesday, the Commission had issued a press release stating that “in view of the coronavirus pandemic, all hearings scheduled in Pune during the last week of March were postponed”. It stated that ''hearing that was fixed in Pune, is rescheduled and will take place at Mumbai office from March 30 and April 4, 2020.''

Violence erupted in Koregaon Bhima and nearby areas on January 1, 2018, during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Koregaon-Bhima battle. The Pune Police have alleged that "provocative" speeches at the ''Elgar Parishad conclave'', held on December 31, 2017, triggered the violence. According to the police, the Elgar Parishad conclave organizers had links with Maoists.

Pawar in December last year termed the arrest of activists in the Elgar Parishad case "wrong" and "vengeful". He had also demanded that a Special Investigation Team be set up under a retired judge to probe the action taken by Pune police.

The state government has yet to decide on the formation of SIT to probe the police conduct into the Elgar Parishad case.

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Free Press Journal