A day after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested two artistes of the Pune-based cultural group Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case, the agency on Tuesday arrested one more person.
Pune resident Jyoti Jagtap (33) was arrested on Tuesday, a day after Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor’s arrest.
Gorkhe and Gaichor were produced before the NIA special court in Mumbai on Tuesday, and remanded to NIA custody for four days. Jagtap will be produced before the court on Wednesday.
All three are lead poet-singers of KKM, which according to NIA, is “a frontal organisation of terrorist outfit CPI-Maoist.”
They were among the six initially named in the FIR lodged in connection with the case at Vishrambag police station in Pune, which alleged that the Elgaar Parishad, held on December 31, 2017, and organised by KKM activists, was aimed at “inciting people and giving provocative speeches”. These speeches had “promoted enmity between various caste groups and led to violence (in Koregaon Bhima area on January 1, 2018), resulting in loss of life and property…”
“During investigation, it was revealed that senior leaders of CPI-Maoist, an organisation banned under the UAPA, were in contact with the organisers of Elgaar Parishad as well as the accused arrested in the case so as to spread the ideology of Maoism/Naxalism and encourage unlawful activities,” the NIA stated in a press release on Tuesday.
The agency added that Gorkhe, Gaichor and Jagtap were propagating Naxal activities and Maoist ideology and conspired with the other accused arrested in the case. It claimed that the arrested men were in contact with absconding accused Milind Teltumbde regarding the urban network of CPI (Maoist). “Also, it is established that during their visits to the jungle, they underwent weapon and explosive training and awareness programmes on various topics related to Maoist movement,” an NIA official said.
Earlier this month, Gorkhe and Gaichor, after being questioned by NIA, had alleged in a video statement that the investigators had told them that if they give a letter apologising for their association with the Maoists, they would be forgiven.
“We will, however, not do that since this is just an attempt to show that Elgaar Parishad was linked to Maoist activity, which is untrue. Since we are not giving apology letters, we could be placed under arrest,” they had said.
Gorkhe and Gaichor had been arrested by the Maharashtra ATS in 2013 for their alleged Maoist links before being granted bail by the Supreme Court in 2017. The trial in the case continues.
The Pune City Police had booked 23 people in the Elgaar Parishad case and arrested nine among them, before the NIA took over the investigation in January.
The agency went on to arrest six persons, including academician Dr Anand Teltumbde and activist Gautam Navlakha on April 14, as well as Delhi University associate professor Hany Babu last month.
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