Mumbai: Social activist Anna Hazare on Tuesday appeared before a special court and deposed as a prosecution witness in the 2006 murder case of Congress leader Pawanraje Nimbalkar. He deposed against former parliamentarian Padamsinh Patil of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the main accused in the murder case. Patil is accused of hatching a conspiracy to kill Nimbalkar over political rivalry. In his deposition before the special judge, Anand Yawalkar, Hazare said he had no knowledge of Patil except for the fact that the latter was a member of Parliament (MP). He also pointed out the fact that he had protested against Patil over some corruption allegations.
“There were some serious corruption allegations against Patil, for which I staged a protest. Subsequently, the then government had constituted a commission under a retired apex court judge to probe the allegations,” Hazare told the court. He further added, “I learnt about the murder of Nimbalkar through newspaper reports. I further got to know that he (Patil) had given a contract to someone to kill me, after which I approached the Parner police station in Ahmednagar to file a case against him.” The social activist further told the court that despite several letters (before filing case) the then government did not pay any heed to his complaints against Patil. "Since Patil was related to Sharad Pawar, the then government did not take any action against him," Hazare told the court. However, his testimony as far as NCP chief Sharad Pawar is concerned was not taken on record due to vehement opposition by the advocates appearing for Patil.
Hazare deposed before the court pursuant to the orders of the Supreme Court directing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to enlist him as a prosecution witness. The SC had ordered so while quashing the orders of the Bombay High Court, which dismissed the application filed by Anandidevi, the wife of the deceased Nimabalkar. She had urged the HC to make Hazare a witness in the case. Nimbalkar and his driver Samad Kazi were found dead inside his car near Kalamboli on the Mumbai-Pune Express Highway on June 3, 2006.