A special court in Mumbai on Wednesday sent Jyoti Jagtap, a member of Pune-based cultural group Kabir Kala Manch (KKM), to the custody of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) till September 11 in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case.
Jagtap, a 33-year old resident of Pune, was arrested on Tuesday by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and handed over to the NIA, which is probing the Elgaar Parishad case. Two other KKM members, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor, arrested on Monday, had also been remanded in NIA custody till September 11.
So far, 15 people have been arrested in connection to the case, including nine by the Pune Police in 2018. Since January, when NIA took over the probe, it had arrested six persons.
Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Shetty, while seeking Jagtap’s custody, submitted to the court on Wednesday that she had been named in the FIR filed by the Pune police on January 8, 2018, and had undergone weapon and explosive training.
Lawyer Susan Abraham, appearing for Jagtap, opposed this by saying that in 2013, she had surrendered before then home minister RR Patil, along with Gorkhe and Gaichor, in another case lodged in connection to their alleged Maoist links.
While Gorkhe and Gaichor were named as accused in the case, Jagtap was not arrested as there was no evidence that she underwent training and was also not named as an absconding accused, Abraham added.
The trial in this particular case is currently in progress at the sessions court. All accused had been granted bail in 2017 following a Supreme Court order. The NIA, following the arrest of Gorkhe, Gaichor and Jagtap, had claimed that KKM – with whom the three were associated as poets and singers – is a “frontal organisation of terrorist outfit CPI-Maoist”. They artists were “propagating Naxal activities” and were in contact with absconding accused Milind Teltumbde, a top leader of the banned CPI-Maoist, it had added.
All three were among the six initially named in the FIR lodged at Vishrambag police station in Pune, which alleged that the Elgaar Parishad, held on December 31, 2017, and organised by KKM activists, was aimed at “inciting people and giving provocative speeches”. These speeches had “promoted enmity between various caste groups and led to violence (in Koregaon Bhima area on January 1, 2018), resulting in loss of life and property….”
The KKM, whose members, including Gorkhe and Gaichor, were first arrested in 2013, has not been banned under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
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