Mumbai/Pune: Maharashtra government dropped at least six riot cases against the right-wing leader and the main suspect in Koregaon-Bhima violence Sambhaji Bhide, claims a Mumbai-based Right to Information (RTI) activist.
Bhide, is the founder of Shri Shivpratishthan, Hindusthan that identifies itself a cultural organization.
Activist Shakeel Ahmed Sheikh, who filed the RTI in the matter, stated that after coming to power in 2014, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis-led government withdrew three cases against Bhide, which were filed 2008 for allegedly vandalizing cinema halls screening the movie ‘Jodhaa Akbar’.
Earlier this year, Sheikh filed the RTI seeking information on the number of cases withdrawn against politicians, their party workers, and a common man.
“I filed an RTI on March 4 to seek information on how many cases against political leaders and their supporters were withdrawn since 2008. Three cases against Bhima Koregaon violence accused Sambhaji Bhide were withdrawn and nine cases against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Shiv Sena leaders were withdrawn,” the activist said.
Sheikh further alleged that most of the people, whose cases were withdrawn by the state government since 2014 till now, were accused of rioting and damaging public property.
“The Maharashtra government has withdrawn 41 cases in the last one year. Of these 14 cases were dropped against MLAs, BJP and Sena leaders and their party supporters,” Mr. Shaikh told NDTV.
Meanwhile, Pune Superintendent of Police (SP) Sandeep Patil said, “No charges against Bhide and others have been removed so far in Bhima Koregaon violence case and the investigation is still in progress.”
Three of the six cases dropped against Bhide were related to violence following the release of Hindi film Jodhaa Akbar.
Earlier this year, Bhide allegedly instigated violence during the 200th-anniversary celebrations of the Bhima Koregaon battle. During the clashes in the Pune district on January 01, one person was killed, while many others were left injured.
Bhide, however, had denied the allegations.
With agency inputs