NCP chief Sharad Pawar has conveyed to the Koregaon-Bhima Inquiry Commission that he will not be able to appear before it on February 23-24.
Maharashtra minister and NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said this in a video statement today, and added that Sharad Pawar will definitely appear before the probe panel in future.
The Koregaon-Bhima Inquiry Commission had earlier this month asked Mr Pawar to appear before it on February 23 and 24 to record evidence in connection with the January 2018 violence at a war memorial in Pune district of Maharashtra.
The panel had earlier summoned Sharad Pawar in 2020, but he couldn't appear before it due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Mr Malik said, "The commission had called Pawar saheb to appear before it. He has submitted to the commission in writing that he won't be able to appear before it this time." "He has told the panel that he will put forth his version (before the commission) later. Pawar saheb will definitely be present there in the future," he added.
According to the Pune police, violence had broken out on January 1, 2018, between caste groups near the war memorial during the bicentennial anniversary of the 1818 battle of Koregaon Bhima. One person had died and several others, including 10 police personnel, were injured in the incident.
The Pune Police had alleged that provocative speeches at the 'Elgar Parishad conclave', held on December 31, 2017, in Pune, triggered the violence around Koregaon Bhima. According to the police, the Elgar Parishad conclave organisers had links with Maoists.
The NCP chief had filed an affidavit before the commission on October 8, 2018.
In February 2020, social group Vivek Vichar Manch member Sagar Shinde filed an application before the commission, seeking the summoning of Sharad Pawar in view of certain statements made by him in media about the 2018 caste violence.
Meanwhile, Mr Malik also said that with the number of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra seeing a decline, the state health and relief and rehabilitation departments will work out a proposal on relaxations to be given in view of the current situation.
"The Chief Minister will discuss the same with the task force and take a call. The decision taken will be conveyed to people accordingly," he added.
On Monday, Maharashtra reported 806 COVID-19 cases. The state capital Mumbai reported 96 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest single-day rise after April 17, 2020, as per official data.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)