Elgar Parishad case: NIA says accused trying to delay trial

In an affidavit filed in the Bombay high court, NIA said the accused, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha, were filing pleas on one ground or the other
File image of the Elgar Parishad that was organised in Pune on December 31, 2017. (HT photo)
File image of the Elgar Parishad that was organised in Pune on December 31, 2017. (HT photo)
Published on Oct 13, 2021 03:18 PM IST
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By K A Y Dodhiya

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has accused Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha, who are among those arrested for alleged inflammatory speeches at the Elgar Parishad conclave in Pune in December 2017, of trying to delay the trial in the case. In an affidavit filed in the Bombay high court on Tuesday, NIA said the two were filing pleas on one ground or the other. NIA urged the court against entertaining the pleas.

The affidavit was filed in response to Bharadwaj and Navlakha’s plea for clone copies of the electronic devices such as hard disks seized from them. It added they will be provided once they are received from a Forensic Science Laboratory. NIA said all the accused in the case have been provided with the certified hard copies of the documents the agency has relied upon in its charge sheet. It added some of the clone copies to the devices have been recently received and will be submitted before a special court hearing the case.

The affidavit said five final reports related to the devices of Bharadwaj and Navlakha are yet to be received. It added once they are received, they would be submitted to the special court and thereafter to the two accused after following due process of law.

The affidavit rejected the allegation of the accused of tampering with the clone copies as a “fanciful submission”. It opposed the plea of the two to stay the framing of charges till they receive them. The affidavit called it just an attempt to delay the process as the incriminating documents and other electronic evidence NIA relied upon have been given to the accused. It maintained the agency has clinching evidence against the accused. NIA said it thus filed the charge sheet. It added the high court has rejected a plea of the accused on the admissibility of the evidence. NIA said the appeal seeking a stay on the commencement of the trial should not be entertained.

Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha are among over a dozen activists and academics arrested in connection with the conclave that was held a day before the violence at Bhima Koregaon near Pune. The Pune Police claimed people linked to Maoists backed the conclave. The NIA later took over the probe into the case.

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Saturday, October 23, 2021