Petition challenged transfer of investigation to NIA after chargesheet was submitted
In an unusual move, the Maharashtra government told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that it does not want to reply to a plea filed by two accused in the Bhima Koregaon caste violence case challenging the transfer of the probe from Pune Police to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
After public prosecutor Aruna Pai, representing the Maharashtra government, made this submission before a division bench of justices S.S. Shinde and N.J. Jamadar, advocates S.B. Talekar and Madhavi Ayyappan, appearing for the accused, expressed shock and urged the court to record the State’s statement.
The court was hearing a criminal petition filed by Surendra Gadling and Sudhir Dhawale lodged at the Taloja Central Jail. It challenges the transfer of investigation to the NIA after the chargesheet was submitted and process issued to some of the accused. Under Secretary, of Government of India, Department of Home Affairs, issued the transfer order on January 24 last year. The petition argues that the transfer is contrary to the scheme of the NIA Act, as there is no provision empowering the Central government to order transfer after completion of investigation and commencement of trial, particularly when there are no compelling circumstances necessitating it.
The petition states, “The order transferring the investigation is impermissible under law. The order is vitiated and malafide as the transfer was undertaken by the Central government after much delay and curiously immediately after BJP lost power in Maharashtra”.
The case has been posted for final hearing on September 27.
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