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No objection to NIA taking over Elgar Parishad case, says Maharashtra government


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MUMBAI: In a big U-turn, the Maharashtra government has withdrawn its opposition to handing over of the Elgar Parishad case probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). "We have decided to hand over the case to the NIA. We have no objections to the NIA taking over the probe," state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said.

However, differences have cropped up among Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi partners over the issue. Deshmukh, who belongs to the NCP, admitted that his decision of not handing over the case to the NIA was overruled by Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray.

“It is the right of the chief minister to overrule the decision of the home minister…So we have no objections over this decision,” Deshmukh said even as he made his displeasure clear.

“The state agencies were investigating the Koregaon Bhima (Elgar Parishad) case... The Centre handed over the investigation to the NIA. As the home minister, my stand was that the Centre should have taken the state government into confidence before making the decision.” 

Last week, Thackeray had, in an interview with Saamana, criticised the Centre’s decision, saying it had all the right to step into the probe, but should have taken the state government into confidence before handing over the investigation to the NIA.

However, he was not keen to enter into a confrontation with the Centre over the matter, sources said. "When the NCP had earlier opposed the case being transferred, the CM and other party leaders did not make any comment," a Sena leader pointed out.

Recap

Last month, the Centre had transferred the Elgar Parishad probe from Pune Police to the NIA. The case is related to speeches at Elgar conclave in 2017.

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)