Elgaar Parishad case: NIA frames charges under UAPA against 11, including 9 jailed activists; leaves out sedition

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered an FIR in the Elgar Parishad or Bhima Koregaon case and charged 11 people, including nine currently in jail, under provisions of the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the IPC, days after it was handed over the matter in Maharashtra by the Centre.

Press Trust of India February 04, 2020 00:04:35 IST
Elgaar Parishad case: NIA frames charges under UAPA against 11, including 9 jailed activists; leaves out sedition
  • While the Pune Police had applied IPC section 124A (sedition) in the case during the investigation, the NIA FIR does not have this charge

  • Similarly, IPC sections like 121 (waging or attempting to war or abetting waging war against the Government of India) 121A (conspiracy to commit offences punishable under section 121) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) were missing from the NIA's FIR

Pune: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered an FIR in the Elgaar Parishad case and charged 11 people, including nine currently in jail, under provisions of the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the IPC, days after it was handed over the matter in Maharashtra by the Centre.

While the Pune Police had applied IPC section 124A (sedition) in the case during the investigation, the NIA FIR does not have this charge, said advocate Siddharth Patil, representing some of the accused.

Elgaar Parishad case NIA frames charges under UAPA against 11 including 9 jailed activists leaves out sedition

File photo of a protest against the arrest of the activists. PTI

Similarly, IPC sections like 121 (waging or attempting to war or abetting waging war against the Government of India) 121A (conspiracy to commit offences punishable under section 121) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) were missing from the NIA's FIR.

Violence erupted in the vicinity of a war memorial in Bhima Koregaon near Pune on 1 January, 2018, allegedly after provocative speeches were made at the Elgar Parishad conclave a day earlier in Pune's Shanirwada locality.

The Pune Police claimed the conclave was backed by outlawed Maoist groups and arrested activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, and Varavara Rao for their alleged links with Naxals.

On 24 January, the Centre transferred the case, registered at the Vishrambaug police station, from the Pune police to the NIA, a central agency.

As per the NIA's FIR, which was part of the agency's application in a special Pune court seeking transfer of seized data, court records and proceedings, 11 people have been charged under IPC Sections 153 A (promoting enmity between groups), 505 (1)(b) (with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public), 117 (abetting commission of offence by the public or by more than ten persons) among others.

They have also been charged under Sections 13 (unlawful activities), 16 (terrorist act), 18 (conspiracy), 18B (recruiting of any person or persons for terrorist act) 20 (being a member of a terrorist gang or organization) and 39 (offence relating to support given to terrorist organisation) of the UAPA.

The 11 include the nine arrested by the Pune Police, while the two other names in the NIA FIR are activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde.

As per the NIA FIR, the list of accused comprises 11 who have been named as well as "others".

A senior Pune Police official said more sections and names of accused could be added by the NIA once all the case papers of the probe are given to the federal agency.

The Pune Police had filed two charge sheets in the case.

Earlier on Monday, the prosecution and the defence sought more time from a Pune court to file their response on the NIA's application seeking transfer of the Elgaar Parishad case to a special NIA court in Mumbai.

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