December 19, 2019 5:15:34 am
PUNE city police on Wednesday submitted before special judge S R Navandar “draft charges” against 19 out of the 23 accused booked in the Elgar Parishad case under sections of the IPC and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for their alleged links with the banned CPI (Maoist).
These 19 accused include activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Vernon Gonsalves, Mahesh Raut, Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao, lawyers Surendra Gadling and Arun Ferriera, and Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen, all currently in jail, along with Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) artistes Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Deepak Dhengle, Jyoti Jagtap and activist Harshali Potdar, who have not been arrested yet, and “underground absconding accused” Milind Teltumbde, Prakash alias Ritupan Goswami, Manglu, Deepu, Kishan alias Prashanto Bose.
According to the draft charges, the accused allegedly conspired “to incite people and create violence and to spread disaffection towards government established by law”. It stated that the accused arranged the Elgar Parishad on December 31, 2017 at Shaniwar Wada, Pune through “frontal” organisation KKM under the head “Bhima Koregaon Shauryadin Prerna Abhiyaan” for “creating communal disharmony, enacted provocative songs, short plays, dance, distributed books and circulated printed Naxal literature to exploit the communal sentiments of Dalits 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.”
The draft charges also mention that the accused allegedly “conspired to wage a war against the government of India and state government… organised Rs 8 crore for annual supply of M4 (sophisticated weapon) with 4 lakh rounds and others arms, ammunition through designated supplier from Nepal and Manipur and conspired to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the lines of Rajiv Gandhi-type incident during his road shows.”
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It also alleged that the accused conspired to carry out activities for CPI (Maoist) like spreading “secessionist and rebellious thoughts” and recruiting cadres. Defence lawyer Siddharth Patil said submission of “draft charge” is a step towards framing of charges.
Meanwhile, prosecution has given cloned copies of data recovered from electronic devices seized from the accused to nine persons arrested so far. Defence lawyers had argued during the last hearing that cloned copies they got from prosecution did not open. But today they admitted before the court that hard discs given to them carried the cloned data. Defence lawyer Rohan Nahar said, “The court has asked us to appoint a cyber expert who will be allowed to verify and examine the data given to us by the prosecution.”
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