A petition has been filed against Additional Director General (ADG) of Maharashtra Police Param Bir Singh and other officers seeking strict actions against him for revealing the evidence and details regarding the investigation in Bhima Koregaon violence before the public at a press conference on August 31. Petitioner, Sanjay Bhalerao, a social activist, has urged the Bombay High Court to take action against Singh under contempt of court for disobeying court’s order. In the PIL filed before Bombay High Court, Bhalerao alleged before submitting the letters, which police claimed had seized from five activists to court the police revealed some crucial information regarding the case in a press conference.
The petition has been filed a few days after the Bombay High Court criticised the Maharashtra police for holding a press conference and that too when the matter is sub-judice. In the petition, Bhalerao had also urged the court to transfer the case from Pune Police to the National Investigation Agency. Notably, the petitioner who has filed the fresh PIL also claims to be a victim of the violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018.
Earlier, a PIL was filed by an alleged victim of the violence, Satish Gaikwad, who also wants the case to be handed over to the National Investigative Agency (NIA). Interestingly, the court will hear both of the petitions on the same day i.e. September 7. Also, both of the petitioners are represented in the Bombay High Court by the same lawyer, Nitin Satpute.
On August 28, the Pune Police arrested human rights activists Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Pereira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha for their alleged association with the Elgaar Parishad held in Pune ahead of January 1, 2018, Bhima-Koregaon riots and their alleged links with Maoists.
The police carried out raids in Mumbai, Goa, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and Haryana, which triggered intense criticism against the police throughout the country. It was when police decided to come forward and defend themselves with the press conference that claimed that they have a strong evidence against the arrested activists.