Elgaar Parishad: Inquiry officer files affidavit before Koregaon Bhima probe panel

SENIOR POLICE Officer Shivaji Pawar, who had investigated the Elgaar Parishad case, recently submitted his affidavit before the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry. Advocate Shishir Hiray, the lawyer representing the state, said Pawar’s affidavit was filed before the commission on Monday.

The Commission will also call Pawar, who is currently the deputy director (administration) of Maharashtra Police Academy, Nashik, for recording his evidence.

The two-member commission, headed by retired justice J N Patel, is probing the causes of violence in Koregaon Bhima area on January 1, 2018, in which a person was killed and several others were left injured.

Elgaar Parishad, a conclave, was held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, a day before the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon Bhima.

Next day, widespread violence was reported in the area.

Shivaji Pawar, who was then an assistant commissioner of police with Pune City Police, carried out an investigation into this FIR lodged at the Vishrambag police station against some of the activists involved in the organisation of Elgaar Parishad.

According to Pune City Police’s probe, Elgaar Parishad was organised according to the strategy of the banned CPI-Maoist and speeches delivered at the conclave and previous campaigns for the event were among the factors that caused the violence.

Inspector General Ravindra Sengaonkar, who was the additional commissioner (south region) of Pune City Police at the time of the violence, had filed the affidavit before the commission on behalf of Pune City Police in October 2018. With his affidavit, Sengaonkar had attached a report given by Pawar regarding the Elgaar Parishad case probe.

Sengaonkar retired from service on Monday and is being cross examined before the commission by lawyers representing various parties, including Elgaar Parishad case accused Harshali Potdar. A few months ago, the lawyers had filed an application seeking examination of Shivaji Pawar, saying Sengaonkar had no role in the investigation of Elgaar Parishad.

The lawyers also filed applications seeking documents and compilations filed by Pune City Police before the Supreme Court, following a petition by historian Romila Thapar and others, raising doubts about the probe and arrests made in Elgaar Parishad case. The SC had rejected Thapar’s petition.

The Commission then passed an order stating that it was not concerned with the production of documents filed before the SC by the state of Maharashtra in the Elgaar Parishad case.

It, however, stated that Shivaji Pawar was an important witness and his evidence would help it in view of certain terms of references, and directed the state to file his affidavit.

In an affidavit filed before the commission, Pawar stated, “….all the facts regarding the incident with respect to the terms of reference required to be clarified before the Commission were elaborately covered by the

Commissioner of Police and Additional Commissioner of Police, Pune city.”

Pawar stated that the commission may call the entire chargesheet and record of investigation in the Elgaar Parishad case from the special court (NIA), Mumbai for perusal. He also stated that the case is pending for trial before the special NIA court, Mumbai, and further

investigation is being conducted by the NIA, so “it would be prejudicial in the interest of justice to lead evidence before the commission, on the points required to be adjudicated before trial court.”

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