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Pune: Businessman who suffered Rs 1.65 crore damages deposes before panel probing Koregaon Bhima violence

Jayesh Prakash Shinde's affidavit said he had learned from villagers that a board with statements purporting a "false history" had been put up by persons from the Gaikwad family in Vadhu Budruk village on December 28, 2017, which had sparked the tension.

Jayesh Prakash Shinde, a businessman who suffered property loss of Rs 1.65 crore during the Koregaon Bhima violence on January 1, 2018, deposed as a witness before the Koregaon Bhima Commission of Inquiry on Monday.

Shinde, a district-level officebearer of the BJP, had operated the “Chhatrapati Auto Sales and Service” showroom in Koregaon Bhima.
In his affidavit submitted before the commission, Shinde said he had been providing food, water and shelter at his showroom to persons coming to the “Jaystambh” every January 1 (to commemorate the Battle of Koregaon Bhima).

On January 1, 2018, similar arrangements had been made and all his staff were present at the showroom, Shinde said, but he had gone to Wagholi, a nearby village. He had received a call from his employee at 12.15 pm that persons holding blue flags had ransacked his showroom and set it on fire, reducing it to ashes. Shinde submitted videos collected from others supporting his statement.

Shinde’s affidavit also said he had learned from villagers that a board with statements purporting a “false history” had been put up by persons from the Gaikwad family in Vadhu Budruk village on December 28, 2017, which had sparked the tension.

In his affidavit, Shinde also blamed senior NCP leader Sharad Pawar for allegedly making “casteist and wrong” statements to mediapersons following the Koregaon Bhima violence.

But senior lawyer B A Desai objected to Shinde being examined by the commission, stating that Shinde’s affidavit was based on “hearsay”. The commission said Shinde was being examined with “limited purpose of verifying whether he got compensation from the government of Maharashtra for the damage suffered in the riot”. Shinde told the commission he had received compensation of Rs 1.65 crore from the government.

Meanwhile, advocate Kiran Channe, representing a witness, Ravindra Chandane, questioned Shinde about his allegations against Sharad Pawar, who had told news channels that villagers had told him “Hindutvavadi Sanghatna is responsible for the riots”.

Shinde said “villagers do not have any such quarrel over issues towards any caste and religion and there was total harmony, that is why I did not feel that it (Pawar’s statement) was in the interest of villagers”.

But Channe contended that Shinde had called Pawar’s statement false and misleading because the BJP had campaigned against the NCP leader’s statement that “Hindutvavadi” were responsible for the violence. Shinde denied this, saying, “It is not correct.”

Shinde was also cross examined by advocate Rahul Makhare and advocate Shishir Hiray, the lawyer representing the state government.
Meanwhile, the commission’s lawyer, Aashish Satpute, started recording the chief examination of another witness, Sambhaji Shivale, a resident of Vadhu Budruk. Shivale’s chief and cross examination will continue on Tuesday.

The two-member commission headed by retired Justice J N Patil is probing into the cause of violence in Koregaon Bhima on January 1, 2018, in which one person had died and several others were injured.

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