Pune: Even as the controversy over deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar's alleged threat to Masalwadi villagers refuses to die down, the Pune rural police have promptly sent a detailed investigation report to the district collector giving the NCP leader a 'clean chit'. The haste in which the report was sent has raised many an eyebrow and questions are being raised whether the cops have acted under political pressure.
In the report, the police have categorically mentioned that neither Pawar threatened the villagers nor held public rallies in the villages. The police have registered a non-cognisable (NC) offence with the Wadgaon Nimbalkar police station on Saturday.
The complainant, Suresh Khopade, a former IPS officer and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Baramati constituency, alleged that Pawar had conducted public rallies in 26 villages and also threatened to cut off water supply to Masalwadi village in Baramati taluka if the villagers do not vote for his cousin Supriya Sule, daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar.
Speaking to dna, superintendent of police (Pune rural) Manojkumar Lohia said, "After registering the complaint, we have recorded statements of the police patil of Masalwadi and a youth whose name was mentioned in the complaint application filed by Khopade. Both, the police patil and the youth told us that Pawar did not threaten them."
"Moreover, we have also recorded the statements of villagers who have said that Pawar did not hold any public rally in their areas when the model code was in force," Lohia added.
The rural police have submitted their report to district collector Saurabh Rao who will forward it to the Election Commission.
Lohia made it clear that on the basis of Khopade's complaint and subsequent investigations, the matter is not a cognisable offence. "We have registered a non- cognisable offence in this regard," he said.
When contacted, Khopade said, "I am yet to get official information from the police. Once I get the details, I will decide the further course of action."
When asked if he will approach the court, Khopade said, "If required, I will approach the court. At this juncture, I can't comment."
Can't probe unless Pawar lodges complaint: SP
The top brass of Pune rural police claimed that they cannot probe into the video clip unless Ajit Pawar submits a complaint in this regard.
Rural police chief Manjokumar Lohia said, "The complainant did not submit the video clip at the time of lodging the complaint. Later, he submitted it to the police. We are not sure whether the clip is original or fabricated."
He said, "In the clip, we can hear the villagers are being threatened but we can't say if it is Pawar's original voice. And to investigate into this clip, Pawar has to submit a complaint."
Clipping is fake, says NCP
The NCP on Saturday said the video clip purportedly showing Ajit Pawar threatening villagers was fake. "The clip is fake and Ajit Pawar has not said what is being attributed to him," NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said. "We will take legal action against those who circulated the fake video," he added.