The decision of the Union government to transfer the investigation into the Bhima Koregaon cases to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) — without consulting the Maharashtra state government led by Shiv Sena
— and the resultant grave threat it poses to the concept and spirit of federalism is a matter of grave concern. The fact that the decision to hand over the probe to NIA came a day after the Maharashtra government reviewed the charge sheet filed in the cases had raised more questions than they answer. Investigation by the Pune police saw several human rights activists and lawyers who, labelled as “Urban Naxals” by the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders being named in the charge sheet and the judiciary took cognisance of the matter. The intervention by the Centre through the NIA at this critical juncture by riding a roughshod over the police powers of the state is wholly unwarranted. Not only does the credibility of NIA as an independent investigation agency come under a cloud, but the move also raises question marks on the commitment of the government at the Centre in upholding the spirit of cooperative federalism.
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