Bhima-Koregaon case: Father Stan Swamy files plea for woollens, sipper, straw
Tribal rights activist and priest Father Stan Swamy filed a fresh application on Thursday, requesting winter wear, a sipper cup and straw after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) informed the special court it had not confiscated Swamy’s straw and sipper cup. The matter, along with Swamy’s bail plea, will be heard next in December. Swamy, 83, is among the accused in the case of violence at Bhima-Koregaon in January 2018 and has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
In early November, Swamy’s lawyer Sharif Shaikh had filed an application seeking the return of Swamy’s straw and sipper cup, citing Swamy’s medical condition as a patient of Parkinson’s disease. On Thursday, NIA’s special public prosecutor Prakash Shetty told the court these items had not been confiscated during Swamy’s arrest on October 8. The defence counsel then sought direction to prison authorities, to provide Swamy with the same at a cost, along with slippers for daily use. The court has asked the prison authority to file a report and adjourned the matter till December 4.
While seeking bail for Swamy on Thursday, Shaikh pleaded that Swamy has been falsely implicated in the Bhima-Koregaon case. While accepting that Swamy is a member of the organisation Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC), which works with undertrials, the bail plea points out that working with those accused of being members of the banned outfit Communist Party of India (Maoist) does not necessarily make Swamy an affiliate.
NIA has alleged PPSC is a “frontal organisation” for CPI (Maoist) and that Swamy had received Rs 8 lakh to carry out activities for the outfit. In the charge sheet filed on October 9, NIA said it had seized “documents related to aiding the activities of CPI (Maoist) and propaganda material” from Swamy during his arrest and that the agency had found letters that proved Swamy’s connection with CPI (Maoist).
In his bail plea, Swamy refuted NIA’s allegations and questioned the authenticity of letters that NIA has submitted as evidence. “The Prosecution has attached word and pdf copies of the letter. They are not even part of emails. That these alleged letters were ever sent/received is questionable,” said Swamy’s bail plea.
Last month, Swamy had applied for bail on medical grounds, but was denied. Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating nervous disorder that can cause involuntary spasms and tremors that make it difficult for patients to carry out everyday actions, such as drinking water, without aid.
Meanwhile, the court on Thursday permitted activist Shoma Sen to withdraw Rs1 lakh from her account for expenses, but rejected her plea to add her husband as a second account holder to operate the account. The prosecution said that during investigation, Sen’s accounts had reflected some suspicious transactions.
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