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Elgar Parishad case: Bharadwaj, Navlakha move HC seeking cloned copies of digital evidence

NIA Friday told the High Court that it will not press for framing of charges against the accused persons in the special court till August 25 and meanwhile, it will provide relevant documents to the petitioners

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: August 21, 2021 7:54:22 am
Activists Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha. (Express Photo)

Elgaar Parishad case accused Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha have recently approached the Bombay High Court seeking cloned copies of all electronic evidence relied upon by the National investigation Agency (NIA) against the accused.

In response, the NIA on Friday told HC that it will not press for framing of charges against the accused in the special NIA court till August 25.

A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and N J Jamadar was hearing an appeal filed by Bharadwaj – through advocate Yug Mohit Chaudhry – against the June 23 special NIA court order that rejected her plea seeking cloned copies of electronic evidence.

Navlakha has also filed an appeal in HC seeking similar directions, including deferring the trial till the cloned copies are made available to him.

While the special court had said that it would consider the draft charges submitted by NIA from August 23 – thus beginning the process of framing charges after which the trial will commence – Chaudhry said that accused had not yet received certain material, including cloned copies of the digital hard disc recovered by the probe agency.

Advocate Sandesh Patil, appearing for NIA, said that the agency will not proceed with framing of charges until Wednesday. “We will seek adjournment from the special NIA court. The HC may hear the pleas on Wednesday and until then, we will instruct our counsel in the special court not to proceed with framing of charges,” he added.

On August 9, the NIA had submitted in the special court the draft charges against the 15 people arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case. The charges include sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act pertaining to terrorist acts, unlawful activities, conspiracy, membership of the banned organisation and raising funds for it.

The NIA has also proposed to charge the accused for criminal conspiracy, waging or attempting to wage a war or abetting a war against the Union government, sedition and promoting enmity under Indian Penal Code.

The HC will hear the pleas next on August 25.

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