Help NIA in Elgar Parishad probe or face action: BJP tells Maharashtra government
Two senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in Maharashtra warned on Tuesday that the state government might face serious consequences, even dismissal, if it failed to cooperate with the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Elgar Parishad probe, ratcheting up an ongoing tussle with the ruling Shiv-Sena-led government over the high-profile cases.
The comments by former finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and state BJP president Chandrakant Patil came on a day the state government received formal communication from the Centre that the NIA was taking over the cases related to the violence that broke out on January 1, 2018, in Maharashtra’s Bhima Koregaon village.
“Director general of police (DGP) has received the letter from the central government. It has been forwarded to us. We are seeking a legal opinion on it before deciding on the further course of action,” state home minister Anil Deshmukh told HT.
The state government will decide in a scheduled cabinet meeting on Wednesday if it will set up a special investigation team (SIT) to review the Pune Police probe in the cases.
Earlier in the day, Mungantiwar told media that the NIA Act allowed the Centre to take over a case from a state government. Patil said the Uddhav Thackeray government will have to face legal consequences if it does not cooperate with the NIA.
“If the state government is acting against the Centre’s decision then there could be a constitutional logjam,” Mungantiwar said. “The governor will have to intervene. The existing law says that if states act against constitutional provisions, then the Centre can intervene and dismiss the state government,” he added.
The tussle began last Friday, when the Centre announced the NIA was taking over the cases from the Pune Police, which has arrested nine prominent activists and others for allegedly plotting the violence and conspiring to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The decision came just a day after the Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Congress alliance government held a meeting to review the cases.
The Congress and the NCP criticised Mungantiwar and the BJP. Congress leader and PWD minister Ashok Chavan said Mungantiwar’s “threat” was “a case of day-dreaming by BJP leaders”. NCP leader and state minister Nawab Malik dared the Centre to dissolve the state government. .