On September 3, 2018, Monday, the Bombay High Court questioned Maharashtra Police for conducting a press conference regarding the arrest of activists in relation to the Bhima Koregaon violence, which took place on January 1, 2018.
A division bench comprising of Justice Mridula Bhatkar and Justice Sandeep Shinde of Bombay High Court heard a criminal writ petition which was filed by Satish Sugriv Gaikwad who claimed to be a victim of the violence.
When Satish Sugriv’s lawyer Nitin Satpute submitted that police sought to make the trial in the camera yet they conducted the press conference, the Bench retorted “They held a press conference? How can they do this when the matter is sub-judice? In such cases revealing information pertaining to the case is wrong.”
In the press conference which was held on August 31, 2018, Additional Director General Param Bir Singh read out the letters exchanged between the activists who have been arrested in the case. He stated that for procuring weapons and ammunition they were receiving funding from foreign countries and police have conclusive proof to link lawyers and activists who have been arrested till now.
In the said petition, Gaikwad has sought that the investigation be transferred from Pune police to National Investigation Agency. Though Pune Police had filed the FIR on the next day of the violence and arrested Milind Ekbote, the petition reads that there is a sudden change in their story as now they claim the violence was instigated by the organizers of Elgar Parishad, which is led by retired Justice Suresh Hosbet.
The Petition stated that “The Pune city cops have come up with a new concocted story that the said incident at Bhima Koregaon was instigated by Elgar Parishad organized in Shaniwar Wada, Pune. These arrests are arbitrary, fanciful and according to their whims which it is against the Constitution of India and the principles of life and justice.”
The petitioner also sought a stay in the investigation arising out of a second FIR related to the case, filed by Tushar Damgude who had alleged that a conclave organized by Elgar Parishad in December 2017 had led to the violence at Bhima Koregaon pursuant to inciteful speeches made at the event.
The Petition also seeks an enquiry against the investigating officer -Assistant Commissioner of Police Shivaji Pawar. The next hearing date has been set on September 7, 2018.