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HC asks government to submit panel report in Maval firing case

The Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government to produce before it a copy of the M G Gaikwad committee report along with annexures, which probed the police firing incident in 2011 at Maval near Pune, in which three farmers were killed.

The High Court also ordered the state to submit original files on the disciplinary inquiry against the errant police officers in the case.

A division bench headed by Justice A S Oka was hearing a public interest litigation filed by activist I G Khandelwal seeking action against the police officers, including the then Superintendent of Police, Pune (Rural), Sandeep Karnik, for opening fire at a protesting mob.

During the last hearing, the court had rapped the government for its lackadaisical attitude and failure to take action against the errant officers even after they were indicted by the committee.

The government had informed the court in an affidavit that explanation was sought from the four officers and after perusal of their replies a warning was issued to Karnik and disciplinary proceedings had been initiated against three police officers — Police Inspectors Ashok Patil and Yashwant Gawari and Assistant Police Inspector Ganesh Mane.

“The government decided to issue warning instead of initiating disciplinary proceeding against Karnik for firing two plastic bullets at the mob, which was not justified even though nobody was injured in the firing. The said decision (written warning) was communicated to him on February 16, 2015,” the affidavit by Charushila Tambekar, Joint Secretary, Home Department, said.

As regards the remaining three police officers, as they have fired live bullets from their pistols at the mob, the government has decided to initiate departmental proceedings against them, the affidavit added.

Khandelwal argued that Karnik had taken someone else’s pistol and had fired at the mob and that it was Karnik’s bullet that killed one woman. He said that details about this are mentioned in the committee report and its annexures.

The court then directed the government to submit before it on March 31 the report along with the annexures and the files pertaining to the inquiry conducted by the police after perusal of the committee report.

On August 8, 2011, the police had opened fire on villagers protesting against the government’s decision to lay a closed pipeline to supply water from the Pavna dam to the limits of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation. They were protesting as agriculturists had claimed that they would not get water for their crops if the closed pipeline is laid.

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