Maharashtra govt in favour of withdrawing 'false Koregaon-Bhima cases'

Maharashtra govt in favour of withdrawing 'false Koregaon-Bhima cases'
Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray
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Mumbai: The Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government is in favour of granting relief to those who were falsely framed in cases related to the 2018 Koregaon-Bhima violence, state minister and NCP leader Jayant Patil said on Wednesday.

Patil, however, said the right to take decision in this connection rests with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray as portfolios are yet to be allocated to ministers.

"We have received memorandums from several people claiming they were falsely framed in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima (violence). Such steps were taken in the past too," Patil told reporters here.

"The government wants to see nobody faces injustice...the government does not want to trouble anyone...the government's view is to give relief to those who were falsely framed in cases," he added.

Patil said the government will not support anyone who played any intentional role in the violence that had erupted at Koregaon-Bhima village in Pune district on January 1, 2018, a day after alleged inflammatory speeches were made at a conclave, 'Elgar Parishad, organised to commemorate 200 years of a famous battle between the Peshwas and the East India Company.

"But there is no need to create confusion and more importantly, I have not become the home minister of Maharashtra yet. All the rights are with the chief minister till the portfolios are allocated," he said.

Notably, NCP MLA Dhananjay Munde had on Tuesday demanded withdrawal of cases related to Koregaon-Bhima violence, claiming the previous BJP-led NDA government had slapped "false" cases against those named in the incident, including social activists.

In his letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Munde had also said the erstwhile government had "harassed" intellectuals, activists, social workers and ordinary citizens who had raised their voice against injustice, and had labelled several of them as "urban Naxals".

The NCP is a key constituent in the Shiv Sena-led Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, of which the Congress is also a part.

Opposition BJP has dubbed the NCP's demand for withdrawal of cases as a "blatant support to naxalism".

Meanwhile, Patil said considering the economic status of Maharashtra works on the on-going infrastructure projects will not be stopped.

He said the government will seek information about some projects and take call based on the inputs.

"The previous government had invested money in some projects for the state. Hence, we will have to complete work on these projects. But we will lay emphasis on improving efficiency of the projects and reducing expenses on them," Patil added.

Panel for withdrawal of cases against Nanar, Aarey protesters

The Maharashtra government has set up a high-level committee to examine cases registered in connection with protests against Nanar refinery and Aarey Colony Metro carshed projects.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had announced that cases against protesters who opposed these two controversial projects would be withdrawn.

Accordingly, a five-member committee, headed by additional chief secretary, Home Department, was set up, an official said on Tuesday.

The Home Department on Monday issued a Government Resolution (order) setting up the committee, which will include the Director General of Police, Mumbai Police Commissioner and Principal Secretaries of Home and Law & Judiciary departments.

The committee will send its report with recommendations to the state government, following which cases will be withdrawn as provided under section 321 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, he said.

Local people had strongly opposed a planned multi- billion dollar refinery at Nanar in coastal Ratnagiri district, saying it will cause ecological damage.

The Shiv Sena, led by Thackeray, had supported the protesters.

The refinery project was to come up over 14,000 hectares across 14 villages, but later the then BJP-led government announced that it would be shifted elsewhere.

Recently, Mumbai police had booked at least 38 protesters under IPC sections 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duty), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from duty) and 143 (unlawful assembly) during protests against cutting of trees for construction of a carshed for Mumbai Metro in the leafy Aarey Colony.

Twenty-nine protesters, including six women, were arrested and later released on bail. The Sena had come out in support of the protesters, though it was partner in the government.  

(With PTI inputs)

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