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Activists’ arrest: Police taking revenge as I fought cases of terror charges, says Gadling in Pune court

The Nagpur-based advocate said while the speakers at December 31 Elgar Parishad did not ask anyone to pick up arms to wage a war against country, yet the police have charged five persons under UAPA. Bail hearing adjourned till October 12.

pune Updated: Oct 11, 2018 14:44 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,court,Gadling
Seeking bail, Gadling told the court that the prosecution wants to muzzle the voice of lawyers, who represent Indian association of people’s lawyers, which in the past have taken up cases of those accused of Maoist links. (HT representational photo )

Advocate Surendra Gadling, arrested for alleged Maoist links, on Wednesday told the Pune court that police are taking “revenge” against him as he fought cases where the prosecution had invoked “fake” terror related charges in the past. Gadling was arguing on his bail application before the additional sessions judge KD Vadane, who adjourned the hearing till October 12 when the prosecution will state its case.

Gadling, along with Shoma Sen, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson and Mahesh Raut, was arrested by the Pune police on June 6 for their alleged links with CPI (Maoist) which the investigation agency believe contributed to the January 1 violence at Koregaon Bhima.

Seeking bail, Gadling told the court that the prosecution wants to muzzle the voice of lawyers, who represent Indian association of people’s lawyers, which in the past have taken up cases of those accused of Maoist links.

“I am the chairman of Indian association of people’s lawyers. I have fought cases of people charged under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967, and Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act. They (police) are taking revenge by slapping similar cases against me,” Gadling told the court. All the five suspects were produced before the court.

The Nagpur-based advocate said while the speakers at December 31 Elgar Parishad did not ask anyone to pick up arms to wage a war against country, yet the police have charged five persons under UAPA. “The UAPA in this case cannot be applicable. Yet the police have invoked that,” Gadling told the judge. The Elgar Parishad (cry of assertion) was held at historic Shaniwar wada where members of various Dalit outfits, including Kabir Kala Manch delivered provocative speeches, according to FIR filed at Vishrambaug police station.

During the hearing, Gadling also argued that letters produced before the court by prosecution alleging role of arrested activists in unlawful activities were “fabricated”. “This was done by the prosecution to implicate us,” Gadling said alleged that the Pune police carried out media trial by selectively leaking the letters to journalists.

“If there was serious material indicating a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then police should have filed an FIR in that matter. However, the investigating agency is misusing their powers by leaking the letters to media to malign innocent babies. I am one such innocent baby,” Gadling told court.

Bharadwaj’s bail plea

The prosecution on Wednesday submitted its say on the bail application filed by activist Sudha Bharadwaj, who along with poet P Varavara Rao, activist Gautam Navlakha, and lawyers Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves, was arrested on August 28 for alleged Maoist links. The prosecution has opposed the bail of Bharadwaj saying she is an active member of the banned CPI (Maoist) outfit. The judge had adjourned the matter till October 16.

First Published: Oct 11, 2018 14:44 IST