Bhima-Koregaon case: HC directs police to file report on Sambhaji Bhide’s role in violence
The Bombay high court (HC) on Monday directed the Pune Police to complete its investigation into the alleged involvement of 85-year-old activist Sambhaji Bhide in the Bhima-Koregaon riots and submit its report in a month.
A division bench of justice Ranjit More and justice NJ Jamadar, while hearing a criminal writ petition filed by Pune resident Anita Sawale, was informed by the petitioner, through advocate Suresh Mane, that the police had in June sought three months to complete its investigation and file a charge sheet or report, which it had failed to do.
The octogenarian, along with others, had been booked for inciting violence at Bhima-Koregaon on January 1, 2018, which resul-ted in the death of one. Although a case was registered against Bhide and others, the charge sheet spelling out his role in the violence hasn’t been filed yet.
In April this year, the Pune Police had told the court that the role of Bhide and other right-wing activists in the violence was being investigated and that it needed time till June. The court had granted time, but on June 16, the police informed the court that it needed three more months to conclude its investigation, which the court granted.
However, on Monday, Mane informed the court no charge sheet had been filed and hence sought directions to expedite the same. On its part, the state through additional public prosecutor Sangeeta Shinde submitted that the investigation was on in full swing, but it would only conclude by December and hence sought time till then to file the charge sheet or the report.
After hearing the submissions, the bench directed the state to conclude the investigation and file the charge sheet in four weeks and posted the matter for hearing on November 11.
A former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) worker, Bhide is founder of an outfit, Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan, which has been active for the past three decades in spreading awareness about the life of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji. He has a following, especially among the youths, in a few districts of western Maharashtra.
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