Former Kolkata HC chief justice to head panel to probe Bhima-Koregaon violence | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Former Kolkata HC chief justice to head panel to probe Bhima-Koregaon violence

The commission has been given four months to complete the probe into the violence that erupted when Dalit groups were attacked on January 1.

mumbai Updated: Feb 10, 2018 10:27 IST
Faisal Malik
A file photo shows activists, amid teargas, pelting stones at the police during protests in Aurangabad.
A file photo shows activists, amid teargas, pelting stones at the police during protests in Aurangabad.(PTI FILE PHOTO)

The Maharashtra government on Friday formed a judicial commission to investigate the violence that occurred at Bhima Koregaon this January, in which a youth was killed.

Justice (retd) JN Patel, former chief justice of the Calcutta high court, will head the two-member commission, while state chief secretary Sumit Mullick will be the other member.

The commission has been given four months to complete the probe into the violence that erupted when Dalit groups were attacked on January 1 while attending a function at Bhima Koregaon, 40 km from Pune, to commemorate an 1818 battle between Peshwa army and Mahar regiment-backed British army. Dalit outfits had organised a Maharashtra bandh following the violence, which also witnessed violent protests.

On January 2, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced a judicial probe into the violence by a sitting high court judge and a CID inquiry into the killing. Officials said the chief minister had met the chief justice on January 4 seeking a sitting judge.

However, the Bombay high court rejected the state government’s request to provide a sitting high court judge for the probe.

Chief justice Vijaya Tahilramani cited Supreme Court’s guiding directives that prevented them from providing one, said Sudhir Srivastava, additional chief secretary of the state home department.

In her response on January 6, the chief justice recommended three names of retired judges, from which the state government selected justice (retd) JN Patel for the task.

In the terms of reference, the commission has been asked to study in detail how the violence took place, its reasons and if any individual or group caused it. It will also have to probe whether the preparations made by the district administration and police were adequate, whether the actions taken by the police to deal with the situation were correct, fix responsibilities, make plans to prevent similar situations in the future and suggest other important recommendations, if any.

The commission will also have the right to summon anyone for the deposition, seek documents and conduct hearings.