Condemning the Centre's decision to hand over the probe into the Koregaon Bhima violence case to the NIA, the Maharashtra Congress on Saturday alleged that the sudden move substantiates the "conspiracy" of the BJP.
The NCP also alleged that the Centre's move is aimed at covering up the wrongdoings of the previous BJP-led government in Maharashtra. "Sudden taking over of Bhima Koregaon riot case by NIA after Maha Vikas Aghadi govt started reinvestigation into inquiry of Pune police, clearly substantiates conspiracy of BJP. Why it took 2 yrs for NIA to find that case is fit under it's jurisdiction? Strongly condemn!" Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said in a tweet.
"Why did it take NIA two years to find out that the case is fit under its jurisdiction. Strongly condemn the decision," he said.
NCP spokesperson and state Minority Affairs Minister Nawab Malik described the decision as a "cover-up" by the Centre to hide the wrongdoings of the previous BJP-led government in the state.
The case was being probed by the Pune police and the Centre's decision to hand over Koregaon Bhima probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday came a day after the police briefed Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Home Minister Anil Deshmukh about the status of the probe.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar had demanded that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) be set up under a retired judge to probe the action taken by Pune Police in the case.
Violence had broken out near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in Pune district on January 1, 2018.
Dalits visit the memorial in large numbers as it commemorates the victory of British forces, which included Dalit soldiers over the army of the Brahmin Peshwa rulers of Pune in 1818.
The police had claimed that provocative speeches at Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, led to the violence and Maoists were behind the conclave.
They later arrested several Left-leaning activists including Telugu poet Varavara Rao and activist Sudha Bharadwaj for alleged links to Maoists.