Bhima Koreagaon activists' arrest: Pune Police gets more time to file supplementary charge sheet against left-wing partisans

Pune: A Pune court on Monday granted a 90-day extension to the Pune Police for filing a supplementary charge sheet against left-wing activists Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferriera, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case. The four, and another activist Gautam Navlakha, accused of having Maoist links, were arrested on 28 August following multi-state raids by the Pune Police. However, on the directions of the Supreme Court, all the five were put under house arrest in their respective cities.

Representational Image. AFP

Representational Image. AFP

Later, as the period of house arrest got over and the apex court refused to grant further relief to the accused, police arrested all of them except Gautam Navlakha. The four activists are now under judicial custody. A charge sheet has already been filed in the case against activists Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale (who were arrested in June) and
five "underground" Maoist leaders. District and Sessions Judge Kishor D Vadane Monday allowed the plea of the Pune police seeking 90-day extension in filing the supplementary charge-sheet.

The prosecution had earlier moved an application before the court seeking an extension on the ground that sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) have been applied in the case. Under the IPC, a charge-sheet has to be filed within 90 days of the arrest of an accused. But under the UAPA, an extension of 90 days can be obtained from the court.

Public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar, while seeking an extension for filing the supplementary charge sheet, argued that the accused were not interrogated when they were under house arrest. She said the investigating officer, ACP Shivaji Pawar, was busy handling the case in the district court, then in the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court. Hence, he needs more time to investigate the case which is of a serious nature, the public prosecutor said.

She said the police have recovered a vast amount of electronic data during the probe and intercepted coded communication between one of the accused with Maoist cadre. All these need forensic examination and enforcement agencies will take some time to analyse those, she said. Defence lawyers opposed the extension plea, asking what had stopped police to interrogate the accused while they were in their custody. After hearing both sides, Judge Vadane accepted the police plea. According to police, Maoists had backed the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on 31 December 2017. The provocative speeches made at the gathering allegedly led to violence at Koregaon Bhima in Pune district the next day.

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Updated Date: Nov 27, 2018 08:40:36 IST

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