Updated: July 25, 2021 7:43:26 am
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday opposed the plea filed by eight accused in the Elgaar Parishad case challenging the June 2019 order of the Pune sessions court rejecting their default bail pleas.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice N J Jamadar was hearing the plea filed by Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling and Varavara Rao.
The NIA affidavit, filed through its Mumbai branch SP Vikram Khalate, referred to Section 460 of the CrPC, pertaining to “irregularities which do not vitiate proceedings”. It said that “if any magistrate is not empowered by law to take cognisance of an offence and yet erroneously does so in good faith, the proceedings before him shall not be set aside merely on that ground”.
The central agency had earlier opposed the default bail plea of co-accused Sudha Bharadwaj citing that session court Judge K D Vadane was not competent under law to extend her custody in 2018.
The NIA, which took over the probe from Pune Police last January, said that in the current case, even if offences levelled were under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, since the agency was not in picture till it was actually handed over the case papers by the Pune Police last February, the question of a special court hearing the case did not arise.
It added that as a special court had been set up in Pune and the applicants were booked under UAPA sections before they were arrested, the judge was empowered to remand the accused to custody and give more time to the Pune Police to file a chargesheet in the case.
Stating that applicants were rightly produced before Judge Vadane, who remanded them to police custody initially and thereafter to judicial custody, NIA sought the dismissal of the plea. The HC will hear the plea along with Bharadwaj’s petition on August 2.
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