Mumbai: A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team, camping in Pune since Monday morning, was not handed over Koregaon-Bhima case files as the relevant orders from the Centre had reportedly not been received.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said on Tuesday he would comment only after receiving the orders for transferring the politically-sensitive case from the Pune Police to the NIA.
A three-member NIA team reached the Pune Police headquarters on Monday and handed over a letter seeking to take over the case. But the Pune Police refused to oblige since there were no orders either from the Centre or the state government.
Though the NIA team was shown the case papers, it was asked to follow due procedure and route for taking over the case through the DGP office, to avoid any legal issues at a later stage.
Earlier during the day, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray convened a meeting of Director-General of Police SK Jaiswal and other top officers to discuss the issue.
Minorities Affairs Minister Nawab Malik termed the case "totally fabricated" and intended to defame Dalit and human rights activists. His remark came after former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar hinted that if the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government refused to cooperate with the NIA, "the government could be dismissed."
Daring the central government to sack the state government, Malik said it would be "murder of democracy" which the people of Maharashtra would never forgive.
The tussle began on Friday, when the Centre decided to shift the case to the NIA, sparking a furore in Maharashtra political circles.
The Centre's move stemmed from Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar's letter to the state government seeking re-investigation into the case by a special investigation team (SIT).
"Prima facie, it seems they (Pune Police) misused their power. The NIA may have taken over the probe, but it's necessary for the state government to investigate lapses by the Pune Police or whether they misused powers to frame activists," Pawar said last week.
He said the fresh probe was necessary as the move to hand over the case to the NIA had "aroused suspicions" and the re-investigation would expose the previous BJP government and its hand-picked officials.
On December 31, 2017, an Elgar Parishad, organised in Pune's Shaniwar Wada, was addressed by leaders of the Left, social and Dalit intellectual, the Kabir Kala Manch, the banned CPI(Maoist) and its frontal organisations, which allegedly triggered violence the next day in Koregaon-Bhima.
On January 1, 2018, caste riots erupted when over 1,00,000 Dalits converged to celebrate January 1, 1818 victory of a 800-member force of the Mahar caste of the Bombay Native Infantry of the East India Company over a 28,000-member strong army of the Peshwa Bajirao-II in Koregaon-Bhima after a 12-hour battle.
Later, in June and August 2018, many prominent Dalit and Leftist activists and intellectuals were arrested in a nationwide swoop by the Pune Police.
The Pune Police's contention was that the persons/groups supported, funded and organised the Elgar Parishad as part of a conspiracy to create social and political unrest in the country, assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, wage a war against the country and overthrow the democratically-elected government.