Mumbai: NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Tuesday claimed that the previous Devendra Fadnavis-led government in Maharashtra had misused police machinery in the Elgar Parishad case.
The former Union minister also said the Elgar Parishad case and the case of violence at Koregaon-Bhima in Pune district on January 1, 2018, were two completely different cases.
Talking to reporters here, Pawar said the Fadnavis-led BJP government and the Pune police "misused" their power in Elgar Parishad case. He demanded that an SIT be appointed to probe the conduct of Pune police and the misuse of power by the Fadnavis-led government.
The Centre transferred the case from the state to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) fearing that the truth would be out, Pawar said. The activists in the Elgar Parishad case could be termed as aggressive but not anti-nationals, he said.
The violence at Koregaon-Bhima was the result of a "different atmosphere" created by Hindutva actvists Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, he said.
Cases were also registered by Pune police against those who were neither involved with Elgar Parishad nor the Koregaon-Bhima violence, he said.
The matter relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed, 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, 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.
They have been booked under relevant sections of the IPC and anti-terror law UAPA. The Pune court hearing the Elgar Parishad case has transferred it to the special NIA court in Mumbai.