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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Handwriting expert who examined documents bearing different aliases of ‘Maoist’ couple deposes before Pune court

Juikar had given his opinion regarding the handwriting and signatures of the accused, based on an examination of documents seized during the investigation of the case.

Written by Chandan Haygunde | Pune |
Updated: March 27, 2021 2:12:52 am
ATS newsBhelke and Nanaware, both natives of Chandrapur, were arrested by the anti-terrorrism squad (ATS) from Pune in September 2014 as alleged operatives of Golden Corridor Committee of the banned CPI-Maoist(file)

STATE EXAMINER of documents Sagar Juikar deposed before a special court in Pune as the handwriting expert in the case of the arrest of alleged Maoist couple, Arun Bhelke and Kanchan Nanaware, on Friday.

Juikar had given his opinion regarding the handwriting and signatures of the accused, based on an examination of documents seized during the investigation of the case.

Bhelke and Nanaware, both natives of Chandrapur, were arrested by the anti-terrorrism squad (ATS) from Pune in September 2014 as alleged operatives of Golden Corridor Committee of the banned CPI-Maoist. They were charged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Both were later lodged at Yerwada Central Jail. Nanaware died on January 24 following a prolonged illness.

According to the ATS, Bhelke and Nanaware allegedly lived in different places at Mumbai, Raigad, and Pune under different aliases. The couple rented a room at Khalapur in Raigad by signing an agreement under the names, Akash Narayan Bhagat and Shital Akash Bhagat, police said.

The couple also lived in a rented room at Vile Parle, Mumbai, for which they signed an agreement with their original names, police said.

The ATS seized both these rent agreements during the probe and also recovered a PAN card and Aadhaar card with the name, Aditya Suresh Patil, but carrying Bhelke’s photo. The address on this Aadhaar card was found to be the office of Arun Kamble, the then corporator from Govandi area in Mumbai. The ATS also seized a PAN card with the name, Sonali Aditya Patil, carrying Nanaware’s photo. A hospital patient identity card bearing the name Shital Bhagat and Nanaware’s photo was also seized.

Police said she was allegedly using the identity of Shital Bhagat while undergoing treatment at the hospital. The ATS also seized some handwritten documents from the accused, following which they took samples of the handwriting and specimen signatures of the accused.

The ATS submitted these samples along with other relevant documents to the office of the chief state examiner of documents in the premises of Criminal Investigation Department.
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Juikar had submitted his opinion to the ATS, as per which the handwriting samples and specimen signatures matched with handwriting and signatures found on some of the seized documents.

Juikar, who has examined over 90,000 documents in different cases to date, appeared before the special judge S R Navandar. His chief examination was conducted by prosecution lawyer Ujjwala Pawar. He told the court that he has given opinion after carefully examining the documents in this case using different scientific equipment and with “side by side comparison process”.

Defence lawyer Rahul Deshmukh cross-examined Juikar. Deshmukh argued that Juikar purposely ignored the “variations and dissimilarities” in signatures he examined and that his opinion is based on insufficient data. Deshmukh claimed that sufficient documents were not available with the examiner. Juikar denied these claims.

Bhelke and Nanaware were active members of the “Deshbhakti Yuva Manch (DYM)” in Chandrapur, which police later branded as a “front” for the banned CPI-Maoist. The couple is also alleged to have worked actively with armed Maiost cadres in jungles. According to the ATS chargesheet, Bhelke tried to indoctrinate and recruit some youths from Kasewadi slums in Pune into the Maoist movement.

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