Bhima-Koregaon violence: Fadnavi gives clean chit to right-wing leader Sambhaji Bhide

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis gave a clean chit to the right-wing Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence.

A day after Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh chief Prakash Ambedkar demanded the arrest Sambhaji, Fadnavi told the assembly that there is no evidence against him.

“The First Information Report (FIR) was registered on the basis of the complaint registered by a woman complainant. During the recording of her statement before the judicial magistrate she said her complaint was based on heresy and she had no evidence of his involvement. She said she had mentioned Bhide’s name on the basis of what she heard from people around. There is no direct involvement of Bhide in the case and no question arises of taking action against him,” said Fadnavis while responding to the long debate on law and order in the state.

“Having said this, I want to clarify that the investigation has not been shut yet. Police have been investigating fresh evidence that has come to the fore. Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh chief Prakash Ambedkar has given me more documents and we have assured them that it will be investigated,” Fadnavis said, reported Hindustan Times.

Prakash Ambedkar on Monday had demanded the arrest of Bhide alias Guruji, founder and head of the extremist outfit Shiv Pratisthan Hindustan organisation within a week.

“The BJP-led government in Maharashtra should not protect Bhide and arrest him in seven-eight days for inciting the anti-Dalit violence. The government should do its duty and not that of a court,” Prakash Ambedkar said.

Addressing the ‘Elgar March’, Ambedkar said, “Bhide has links with PM Modi. Therefore, he has not been arrested. Bhide is Modi’s guru and Modi posts photo of Bhide greeting him. We aren’t bothered even if he (Bhide) is your guru. He was behind the Bhima-Koregaon caste riot and he should be arrested.”

Ambedkar, grandson of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, had said, “If the number two accused in the case– Hindu Ekta Parishad leader Milin Ekbote–has been arrested, why has Bhide been let off the hook?.”

“I am aware that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is shielding Bhide,” he said.

Bhide and Ekbote is facing allegations of instigating violence in January against Dalits during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Anglo-Maratha War.