Elgar Parishad case: NIA expands scope of its probe
Expanding the scope of its probe into the December 2017 Elgar Parishad conclave, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has started looking at whether the 11 activists arrested in the case were involved in raising funds (for anti-national activities), brainwashing educated youth in urban centres, made international visits to get support from different organizations abroad, launched misinformation campaigns against the government , and met with overground Maoist leaders, two officials familiar with development told HT.
The probe by NIA also focuses on student leaders in various universities and non-government organizations that extended support to the activists.
Nine activists, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Sudha Bhardwak were arrested and chargesheet by Pune Police in 2018 in the case while two others, Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha were arrested earlier this month by NIA. Most are currently in judicial custody.
“While Pune police has already filed two charge sheets in Bhima Koregaon incident, our probe focuses on unearthing the whole network of activists and frontal organizations working with them including student unions, youth organizations, lawyers’ groups, tribal bodies and NGOs. The source of funding, both in India and abroad, different events/activities organized by them will be identified and stopped,” said the first official.
Senior advocate Mihir Desai, who appears for Teltumbde and Gonsalves said: “All the charges are false and baseless. Pune police too has been saying this for two years that they are looking at larger conspiracy but there was no mention in its charge sheets.”
Advocate Rohan Nahar, who appears for Varavara Rao and Rona Wilson, said: “The police and now NIA are going on a wild goose chase...there is no case at hand.”