The Bombay HC Tuesday asked the central and state governments, as well as the National Investigation Agency (NIA), to respond to a plea filed by lawyer Surendra Gadling and poet-publisher Sudhir Dhawale, arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case, challenging the transfer of the case to NIA.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh and advocate Sandesh Patil, appearing for the Centre and the NIA, respectively, sought time to take instructions and file an affidavit in response to the plea.
Gadling and Dhawale, along with seven others, have been behind bars since 2018 after being arrested by the Pune Police in connection with the Elgaar Parishad event organised in Pune on December 29, 2017.
Based on a complaint received eight days after the event, the Pune Police had filed an FIR linking “inflammatory speeches” given at the event to the Bhima Koregaon violence that occurred on January 1, 2018. The case was transferred to NIA in January. The Pune Police had claimed that the event had been part of a criminal conspiracy linked to the banned CPI (Maoist).
The petition stated that there was no compelling reason for transferring the case to NIA, and that no provision empowers the Centre to transfer a probe after it has been completed and the trial is set to commence. The court posted further hearing on July 14.
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