Bhima-Koregaon violence: Pune court remands Milind Ekbote to police custody till 19 March

Pune: A Pune court on Thursday remanded Hindu Ekta Aghadi leader Milind Ekbote, one of the accused in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, in police custody till 19 March.

The police had on Wednesday arrested Ekbote from his residence, after the Supreme Court turned down his anticipatory bail plea.

He was produced on Thursday before Special Judge PC Bhagure at the Shivajinagar district court amid a heavy police bandobast.

File image of protests following Bhima-Koregaon violence. 101 reporters

File image of protests following Bhima-Koregaon violence. 101 reporters

Public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar argued in the court that the police needed Ekbote's custody to recover a mobile phone through which he had communicated with some people and given directions.

"He is not cooperating with police and claiming the mobile phone is lost. The call detail record (CDR) report shows that there was a communication using that phone, but he is denying the possession of the phone," said Pawar.

She also told the court that Ekbote had organised a meeting at Sonai Hotel close to Perne phata near Koregaon Bhima days before the 1 January event, where he had distributed some pamphlets and given directions to people.

"The police custody is needed to recover the hard disk of the computer and printer which were used to print the pamphlets, mobile phone and police need to find who were those people, whom did Ekbote call and was constantly giving directions to," she said.

Last month, while extending the right-wing leader's protection from arrest, the apex court had asked the Pune rural police to submit a detailed report on the case and allowed them to question Ekbote.

Following directions from the court, he had appeared before the Shikrapur police here for questioning five times.

Yesterday, the police submitted a detailed report before the apex court and sought the "custodial interrogation" of Ekbote, while opposing his bail plea.

The SC accepted the demand for his custodial interrogation and rejected his bail application.

A case was registered against Ekbote and another Hindutva leader, Sambhaji Bhide, for allegedly inciting the anti-Dalit violence that left a man dead near the Bhima-Koregaon war memorial on 1 January.

The incident took place during an event to commemorate the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle.

Subsequent protests had disrupted normal life in Mumbai and other parts of Maharashtra.

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Updated Date: Mar 15, 2018 15:03:29 IST

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