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Activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira sent to police custody till Nov 6

Public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar told the court that the activists were “involved in a larger conspiracy that could harm the security and integrity of the country”.

india Updated: Oct 27, 2018 23:04 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Vernon Gonsalves,Arun Ferreira,Maoist links
Protest demanding release of five activists (Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj who have been under house arrest since August 29) in the Bhima Koregaon Case, at Jantar Mantar on September 28.(Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)

A Pune sessions court on Saturday remanded activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, accused of having Maoist links and a role in Bhima Koregaon clashes in January, in police custody till November 6.

The activists were produced in the court of Additional Sessions Judge K D Vadane on Saturday. Public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar told the court that the activists were “involved in a larger conspiracy that could harm the security and integrity of the country”. The defence counsel for the activists countered that the Pune police action was in contempt of Supreme Court and that judicial custody could not be converted into police custody.

Ferreira, Gonsalves and Bharadwaj were arrested by the Pune police after the term for their Supreme Court-ordered house arrest ended on Friday. Subsequently, the Pune court had rejected their relief plea seeking more time to approach the Bombay high court, paving way for their immediate arrest.

Advocate Siddhartha Patil, who represented Ferreira, said necessary material had been seized long ago and the police had two months to check and investigate the matter.

“Whatever has to be recovered has already been done and they had an ample opportunity to go through all the documents. Contempt should be proceeded against them since according to Supreme Court order of house arrest (arresting post midnight according to the defence) the process of law has not been followed,” Patil court told.

Pawar, however, accused the activists of recruiting cadres from universities and sending them to the forest area. “There is a need to investigate further to find out the purpose for which they were recruited. The accused have received funds and have supplied it to the frontal organisations of the banned Communist Party of India. There is a need to investigate...,” Patil told court.

Gonsalves’s advocate Rahul Deshmukh argued that police custody could not be granted as the apex court had sent the accused to judicial custody.

First Published: Oct 27, 2018 17:13 IST