Congress Targets Uddhav Thackeray Over Elgar Parishad Case Transfer

Mumbai: Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Saturday said Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s decision to allow the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take over the Elgar Parishad case was “not fair”.

Mr Kharge’s comments came two days after Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Sanjay Kumar said on Thursday that “the state home department has no objection to the case being entrusted to the NIA”, and a day after NCP president Sharad Pawar criticised the Chief Minister over the issue.

The Congress is one of the ruling constituents in the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, also comprising the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

“We are partners. Such things should be discussed. This isn’t fair. Power should be used judiciously,” Mr Kharge, the AICC general secretary in-charge of Maharashtra, told reporters.

The Maharashtra government’s sudden decision to allow the NIA to take over the probe from Pune Police after initially opposing it caused a flutter in the coalition government, with state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh of the NCP saying on Thursday that the chief minister had “overruled” him in the matter.

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed had triggered violence near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in the district the next day.

The Pune police have claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists.

During the probe into the police, the Pune police arrested Left-leaning activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao for alleged Maoist links.