Activist Arun Ferreira, who was arrested in August over alleged Maoist links as part of the Elgaar Parishad case, told a Pune court Tuesday he had been hit on the face multiple times during interrogation on November 4 by the investigating officer, ACP Shivaji Pawar.
Ferreira made the allegation when he, along with fellow activists Vernon Gonsalves and Sudha Bharadwaj, were produced before a magistrate court in Pune after their custodial remand ended.
When the judge asked if any of the accused had any complaint against the police, Ferriera said, “I have a submission to make. On November 4, we were taken to the Swargate ACP office. Initially they interrogated Vernon Gonsalves and later in the afternoon Sudha Bharadwaj. Around 4 pm, I was called in to the office of ACP Shivaji Pawar. We were sitting across the table. There was no one else present in the room. At one point he got up, came to my side of the table, removed my spectacles and hit me on the face eight to 10 times.”
He further said, “When I got a chance, I told this to my co-accused. On November 5, I was taken for a medical examination to Sassoon Hospital, where the doctor has said in the report that there was sign of trauma on the right side of the face. I request to the court that my statement be recorded on the issue as per provision of CrPC Section 164, and that my medical reports be made made part of court records.”
Replying to to the allegation, prosecution lawyer and District Government Pleader Ujjwala Pawar said, “The defence lawyers have been meeting the said accused. Also, the medical records do not show the said incident has taken place.”
To this, advocate Siddharth Patil, who represents Ferreira, said, “I do not know what reports the prosecution is referring to, but the medical reports from Sassoon Hospital show that he has been hit. There is still swelling on the right side of the face, under the eyes. There is a possibility that these medical records will be tampered with, so we request that medical reports available now be made part of the court record.”
The court later recorded Ferreira’s statement. The prosecution said that it will file its say on the allegations on November 12.
Ujjwala Pawar also asked the court for the magisterial custody of the three activists and for reserving the right for police custody in future, as and when necessary. The holiday court of Additional Sessions Court Judge RV Adone remanded the three to a 14-day magisterial custody. They will now be lodged in Yerawada jail.