WHILE rejecting bail to six of the nine arrested accused in Elgaar Parishad on Wednesday, the court has observed that “arguments of accused about fabrication of evidence by prosecution has no sound basis”. The court also observed that it was “hardly possible for an Investigating Officer to manipulate the facts or forge the documents”.
The full text of the order of the Special UAPA Judge S R Navandar was made available on Thursday.
The court had rejected the bail pleas of six accused — Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Varavara Rao, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut and Surendra Gadling — in the case. The court had noted that the evidence presented before the court prima facie suggested that the acts of the applicants were “against democracy”. Judge Navandar had said that the court could move for trial if both the defence and prosecution were ready.
The bail applications of the remaining three arrested accused — Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira — were recently rejected by the Bombay High Court after they were denied bail by the special court.
The Pune City Police has alleged that all the accused are active members of the banned CPI-Maoist and they are facing charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
In the 31-page order, the court has discussed various points raised by the defence lawyers while seeking bail for the accused.
“Accused Surendra Gadling, who himself is an advocate, has argued that this case is nothing but a conspiracy of police officers against innocent social activists. He has argued that the FIR in the case is itself an evidence of conspiracy, which shows as to how the police acted upon hearsay information. It is argued that the investigating officer conveniently deviated from the practice of taking hash value of seized electronic record, to fabricate evidence. Therefore, according to him, the collected electronic data cannot be taken into account by the court even at the stage of deciding bail application,” it stated.
“Advocate Rohan Nahar, for accused Rona Wilson and Varavara Rao, has argued that the prosecution is based on colourable exercise and planting of evidence by the Investigating Officer,” observed the court.
Referring to the counter-arguments of the prosecution, the judgment noted, “District Government Pleader Ujjwala Pawar has referred to certain letters seized from the computers and electronic devices of accused during searches to show how the accused are involved in the functioning of the banned organisation and the severity of the conspiracy. Some of those documents re referred to in the text in the reasoning part. She has argued that the investigation in the case is impartial and every care is taken by the Investigating Officer to retrieve and secure the data collected in the electronic devices of the accused. It is argued that the material collected from the accused persons is sufficient to show their involvement and their activities in relation to the banned organisation and the attempts to create unrest in the country.”
Rejecting the bail of all six accused, the court concluded, “..I find that, there is sufficient material in the chargesheet against the applicants/accused. The arguments of accused about fabrication of evidence by prosecution has no sound basis. It is hardly possible for an investigating officer to manipulate the facts or forge the documents as noted above. There are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation of commission of the offences punishable under UAPA against the applicants is prima facie true. Considering the express bar imposed by Section 43D(5) of the UAPA, the applicants can’t be released on bail. The other arguments regarding the social status of the accused persons, their achievements in different fields and their continued detention in jail for a long period cannot be a ground to release them on bail considering the danger to the democratic set-up of the country and to the safety of citizens.”