Elgar Parishad accused lodged in Pune’s Yerawada Central jail relocated to Mumbai
Days after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the probe of the Elgar Parishad case, the nine lawyers and activists arrested were transferred from the Yerawada Central Jail in Pune to Arthur road jail and Byculla jail in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The nine arrested include Telugu poet P VV Rao, lawyers and activists Surendra Gadling, Arun Ferriera, Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, and Shoma Sen. While Gadling, Dhawale, Raut, Wilson and Sen had been arrested in June 2018, the others were arrested in August 2018 in a nationwide swoop.
The men were sent to Arthur Road jail while the women accused were sent to Byculla Prison, said an official.
Rao, 80 years old, was exempted from appearing in the court for the last few hearings in Pune owing to his medical condition. He was hospitalised multiple times and was taken into custody by the Karnataka police for investigation in another case.
The case, under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against organisation of the Elgar Parishad on December 31, 2017, and the links of the arrested lawyers and activists to the banned organisation of Communist Party of India (Maoist), was transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on February 14.
“They were taken today. Their case starts in the NIA court on February 28,” said advocate Rohan Nahar who was representing Rao in Pune.
The case was transferred to the NIA from Pune police after the recently appointed Maharashtra government started demanding a probe in the police investigation done so far by the Pune police.
The decision to transfer the court case from the UAPA court to the special NIA court in Mumbai was taken on February 14 by the Pune court.
According to Pune Police, `inflammatory’ speeches at Elgar Parishad, a conclave allegedly backed by Maoists, led to caste violence at Bhima-Koregaon war memorial in the district on January 1, 2018.