Home dept offers room to Bhima Koregaon panel at Sahyadri guest house

A day after the Bhima Koregaon panel announced suspension of its functioning due to lack of space, the state home department offers room at Sahyadri guest house
A day after the Bhima Koregaon panel announced suspension of its functioning due to lack of space, the state home department offers room at Sahyadri guest house. (HT (PIC FOR REPRESENTATION))
A day after the Bhima Koregaon panel announced suspension of its functioning due to lack of space, the state home department offers room at Sahyadri guest house. (HT (PIC FOR REPRESENTATION))
Published on Nov 02, 2021 07:13 PM IST
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ByNadeem Inamdar

PUNE A day after the Bhima Koregaon Commission announced suspension of its functioning due to a lack of space, the state home department informed the panel that one room would be made available in Mumbai to conduct the hearings.

According to commission secretary VV Palnitkar, the home department has that one room would be made available at a Sahyadri guesthouse. “I am awaiting directions from the chairman. We have demanded two rooms - one cabin for commission members and one for the office. I have not seen the room. We will respond after the directions of the chairman,” said Palnitkar.

The judicial commission probing the violence near Maharashtra’s Bhima Koregaon village in 2018 suspended its scheduled hearings on Monday, saying the state government was yet to provide suitable accommodation in Mumbai despite several requests.

In a letter to the state government, Palnitkar said that despite repeated letters, “nothing was heard from the government till October 31, 2021 about availability of suitable accommodation”.

He added, therefore, there was no other option but to suspend the hearing schedule till the government provided accommodation. “Accordingly, the commission hereby suspends all future hearings till the Government provides suitable accommodation at Mumbai,” said the letter, a copy of which is with HT.

The letter said the commission informed the government it had to postpone the hearings scheduled in March and April 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions imposed to avoid crowding. “In its seventh status report, the commission has stated that it is likely to examine about 40 more witnesses and expects a further extension of at least six months.”

The two-member commission, headed by retired high court justice J N Patel, was constituted by the state government in February 2018 to probe the sequence of events that led to violence on the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018. The violence left one person dead and several injured.

“In the meeting dated October 28, chairman of the commission, justice J N Patel, advised principal secretary, Home, to take up the issue directly with the chief minister’s office and to get suitable accommodation on an emergent basis. It was also made clear that if suitable accommodation is not provided by October 29, 2021, the commission would suspend its hearing schedules,” the letter added.

The probe panel resumed hearing in the case in August this year after a gap of nearly 14 months in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions

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Tuesday, November 30, 2021