Updated: August 23, 2021 11:36:07 am
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has proposed to charge the 15 people arrested in the Elgar Parishad case with 16 offences, including waging a war against the country which has a maximum punishment of death.
In its draft charges submitted before a special court earlier this month, the NIA has said the accused conspired to organise sophisticated weapons “to attempt or cause death of public functionary”.
The Pune police, which had conducted the initial investigation in the case, had in its proposed draft charges said the weapons were linked to a conspiracy to “assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.
While the NIA does not mention the Prime Minister, an NIA official said the draft charges have not gone into specific allegations and the evidence on this will be part of the trial.
The Pune police had claimed to have seized a letter where a place.
Accused activist Rona Wilson has approached the Bombay High Court citing a report stating that the “incriminating evidence” seized from his electronic device was planted through a malware two years before his arrest in 2018.
The NIA has alleged that the 15 accused are active members of banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and the Elgar Parishad event in Pune on December 31, 2017 was organised “to exploit the communal sentiment of Dalit and other classes across the state and provoked them in the name of caste in order to create violence, instability and chaos in District Pune, at various places including Bhima Koregaon and in the state of Maharashtra”.
It has said that the accused conspired to demand and organise Rs 8 crore for “annual supply of M-4 (sophisticated weapon)” and had recruited students from various universities for “commission of terrorist activity”.
While the accused are booked under 16 common sections, they have also been charged with different offences under other sections. For instance, academic Anand Teltumbde has been charged under a section pertaining to destruction of evidence.
The others who have been charged are: Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, P Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Hany Babu, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap and Sagar Gorkhe.
The draft also mentions Father Stan Swamy, who died while in custody last month. The case against him has been abated. It also mentions six accused who are absconding.
Besides waging a war against the country, charges include sedition, promoting enmity between groups, criminal conspiracy and relevant sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Based on the chargesheet, the special court will now decide on the sections under which the accused can be charged.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.