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Mumbai: Court partly allows discharge plea of man booked under UAPA

Ramesh Golala has been discharged from charges related to forging identification documents but will continue to face trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the court ruled.

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
Updated: December 20, 2021 7:59:52 am
In Golala’s defence, his lawyer had argued that there was no sufficient evidence in the chargesheet against him to frame charges.

A special court in a recent order partly allowed the discharge plea of a man booked with seven others on charges of having links with a banned Maoist organisation by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in 2018.

Ramesh Golala has been discharged from charges related to forging identification documents but will continue to face trial under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the court ruled.

Golala was among the eight men arrested in January 2018, including workers of Reliance Energy/Infrastructure Limited and founding members of the Mumbai Electric Employees Union arrested on charges of having links with CPI (Maoist) and raising funds for the organisation.

“In view of the material placed on record, there is every reason to believe that the applicant was connected with the banned organisation and that he had actively participated in the meetings of the members of the banned organisation. The technical evidence in the form of Gmail account and the analysis of the call details record of the applicant and the co-accused, revealed that the applicant was in constant touch with other members of the banned organisation,” special judge Dinesh E Kothalikar said in his detailed order.

The court agreed with the accused’s contention that there is no material to connect him with the allegation on another co-accused of forging documents like Aadhar card, PAN Card. Hence, he was discharged from three charges — Section 465, 468 and 471 — of the Indian Penal Code related to forgery.

In Golala’s defence, his lawyer had argued that there was no sufficient evidence in the chargesheet against him to frame charges. It was also submitted that the chargesheet had nothing to show that he had actively participated in recruiting, raising funds and promoting ideologies of the CPI (Maoist).

The ATS special public prosecutor, however, claimed that a search was conducted in the home of the accused on January 12, 2018 and various books were seized. The prosecutor cited books on the demand for a separate Telangana — “Telangana Vegale Ka Have Hote”, “Udaan, Telangana Aandolan ki Kavitaye” and other books, including one on the death of student Rohit Vemula in 2016, “Rohit Vemula ka hatyara kon hai” as well as the book, “Shivaji Kon Hota? (Who was Shivaji?” written by Govind Pansare, an activist killed in 2015.

The prosecutor also relied on a disclosure statement claiming that the accused had shown where meetings for activities of the organisation were held and claimed that Golala had attended the meetings.

The court while accepting the ATS claim held that there is prima facie material to show that the accused were members of the banned organisation said that there is no scope to conclude that the material on record gives rise only to a suspicion, and hence entitles the accused for being discharged of all charges.

Golala will face UAPA charges for sections, including related to unlawful and terrorist activities, recruitment, organising of camps, harbouring, being a member of a terrorist organisation.

The eight men booked in 2018 are currently out on bail with the trial in the case yet to commence.

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