Elgar Parishad arrests: Pune court grants 90 days’ extension to file chargesheet

The case involves an investigation into the Elgar Parishad event held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which allegedly sparked violence the next day at a major Dalit gathering at Bhima Koregaon.

pune Updated: Nov 27, 2018 14:28 IST
Nadeem Inamdar
Nadeem Inamdar
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune court,90 days extension,chargesheet
Activist Sudha Bharadwaj was arrested on August 28 for their alleged links with Maoists. (HT PHOTO )

The sessions court in Pune, on Monday granted an extension of 90 days to the Pune police to file a chargesheet against four activists - Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves - arrested on August 28 for their alleged links with Maoists.

The case involves an investigation into the Elgar Parishad event held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which allegedly sparked violence the next day at a major Dalit gathering at Bhima Koregaon.

Sessions Judge Kishore D Vadane heard arguments till late in the evening before passing the order granting the extension.

Public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar in her submissions before the court sought the 90-day extension under section 167 under 43 (d) of the Unlawful activities prevention act (Uapa), stating that the ramifications and scope of the case are far wider.

“Vast electronic data comprising pen drives, electronic devices, mobile phones and memory cards, estimated to be around 25 terrabytes of data have been seized from the accused. The electronic communication between the accused and the underground Naxals is coded and has been sent to central forensic lab for examination. It will take some time before the enforcement agencies arrive at an analysis,” Pawar told the court.

Referring to Varavara Rao, the public prosecutor pointed out that he was assigned the specific role of smuggling weapons from Manipur and Nepal and is a conspirator in an alleged assassination plot of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Pawar further added that advocate Arun Ferreria had involved students from elite academic institutes like the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Tiss) in banned Naxalite activities.

Advocate Rohan Nahar, who appeared for Varavara Rao, argued that the law does not give the right to the state to frustrate the statutory rights of citizens.

“Section 43 (d), quoted by the prosecution, is attached with riders and there are stringent conditions attached. Rao was in the custody of police during his house arrest, so why did the police not carry out an interrogation at that time,” Nahar asked.

Activist Sudha Bharadwaj's lawyer Ragini Ahuja said that the application moved by the prosecution was premature and stood sufficient grounds for dismissal. “Nowhere has the prosecutor indicated the progress of the investigation and her application deserves to be rejected,” Ahuja said.

Accused Advocate Arun Ferreira also argued before the court, “The application moved by the prosecution deserves to be dismissed. Nowhere has the investigation officer or the prosecutor indicated the progress of investigations in the case . The public prosecutor is giving a false picture.”

First Published: Nov 27, 2018 14:28 IST