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Bhima Koregaon case: Pune court remands activists Sudha, Vernon and Arun to police custody till November 6

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.

pune Updated: Oct 28, 2018 14:29 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,November 6,Elgar Parishad
Activist Sudha Bharadwaj at Pune court on Saturday. (Photo by Rahul Raut/HT PHOTO)(RAHUL RAUT/ HT )

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 three were produced in the court of Additional Sessions Judge K D Vadane early 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 countered, saying that the Pune police action was in contempt of the 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, meanwhile, told the court that both the accused were involved in 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 (CPI-M). There is a need to investigate as to who are the persons from whom the funding has been received and where it is being utilized. Unlawful activities by all the accused include these two entails larger conspiracy harming security and integrity of the country,” prosecution said.

Advocate Rahul Deshmukh, who represented Gonsalves, argued that police custody could not be granted as the Supreme Court had sent the accused to judicial custody as per the judicial order.

“Police arrest of the accused amounts to contempt of court and is illegal. The accused cannot be arrested post midnight,” he stated.

‘She has cordial relations with Kashmiri leaders’

Arrested civil rights activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj was on Saturday remanded to police custody till November 6 by a Pune sessions court on charges of links with Maoists and her alleged role in the Bhima Koregaon riots in Pune early this year.

Bharadwaj who was flown to Pune from Delhi was brought to the court premises in tight police security. Both DCP ( Zone I ) Suhas Bawache and investigating officer ACP Shivaji Pawar were present during the court proceedings.

Prosecution lawyer Ujjwala Pawar in her remand application before the court said various incriminating materials including electronic evidence was recovered from her possession and this had been sent for forensic examination. Pawar said that Bharadwaj was a member of the banned CPI (Maoist) party and had attended various meetings with underground comrades including a ‘chief woman comrade’.

Bharadwaj was accused of working for recruitment of cadres for Maoists. “Letters show that she played an important role in taking the students of JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) to the forest area for training. There is one letter where she says that there is a need to establish the branch of IAPL (Indian Association of People’s Lawyers) in Kerala. She also attended a programme on UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act,1967 ) which was attended by underground Maoist members,” Pawar stated.

The prosecution argued that evidence showed that Bharadwaj had advised Maoists with tactics aimed at disturbing the law and order of the state. “It is a conspiracy to threaten the integrity and unity of the nation. She has been found possessing Naxalite material. She was well connected and has cordial relations with Kashmiri leaders. Her role is prominent in the communication intercepted between the underground comrades,“ Pawar said.

Defence Counsel Rahul Deshmukh denied all the allegations against Bharadwaj and said that prosecution has been changing stands which put a serious question mark on the investigations.

“ Bharadwaj was in police custody for well over three months and police have recovered whatever they wanted to. The letters which the prosecution is claiming to have revealed her name have not been written by her and not found in her possession. She is not entitled to police custody and must remain in judicial custody. She is a diabetes patient, over sixty year old and needs medication and good facilities during her stay in the police custody if granted any,” he argued.

First Published: Oct 28, 2018 14:28 IST