Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy acquitted of terrorism charges
A Delhi court on Friday acquitted Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy of terror charges, but convicted him for cheating and forgery, and sentenced him for the period which he has already spent in the jail, from September 2009.india Updated: Jun 13, 2016 16:31 IST
Suspected Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy was acquitted of terror charges by a Delhi court on Friday, seven years after the 68-year-old Mumbai native was jailed for alleged links with a banned outfit.
He was, however, convicted of possessing fake voter identity and PAN cards -- the maximum punishment for which is seven years that Ghandy has already served. Ghandy will, however, remain in Tihar jail as he is an accused in about a dozen other terror-related cases.
Ghandy was arrested from New Delhi’s Bhikaji Cama Place on September 20, 2009 by Hyderabad Police on charges of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). He was suspected of residing in the capital under various aliases and “may be conducting recce of targets in Delhi”.
“Kobad Ghandy was residing in Delhi (under) assumed names with fake identities. However, the gap between using fake identities and membership of said banned organisations cannot be filled on the basis of suspicion,” additional sessions judge Reetesh Singh said.
“It’s difficult to see a person like you still smiling after spending seven years in jail,” Singh said to a visibly frail Ghandy.
Activists often draw parallels between the arrest of Ghandy and the detention of Delhi University professor GN Saibaba and Leftist activist-doctor Binayak Sen, both of whom faced similar charges of having links with Maoists. Their cases had drawn international condemnation.
Both were granted bail by the Supreme Court, which had said in the case of Sen that mere possession of Maoist literature does not make one a Maoist just as a person could not be called a Gandhian for possessing Mahatma Gandhi’s biography.
Ghandy faces at least eight more terror-related cases in Telangana, and one each in Punjab, Gujarat, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha, sources said.
Ghandy, said to be suffering from several ailments, asked the judge to send him to Telangana to face trial in the cases pending against him there.
As no family member was present in court, a fine of Rs 40,000 imposed on him for cheating and forgery was paid by two people who accompanied Ghandy’s lawyer.
The prosecution had relied upon recoveries made from a house in Delhi where Ghandy was allegedly residing to prove that he was associated with CPI(Maoist).
It included printouts of e-mails, information and articles about him downloaded from the internet, newspaper reports as well as contents of FIRs.
The court, however, said the documents relied on to prove his association with the banned organistion was “not reliable and admissible as evidence”.