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Elgaar Parishad case: Forced by NIA to make confessional statements, Gaichor, Gorkhe tell court

Remand of three Kabir Kala Manch members extended

Written by Sadaf Modak | Mumbai |
September 12, 2020 12:30:46 pm
Elgaar Parishad case: Forced by NIA to make confessional statements, Gaichor, Gorkhe tell courtOn Wednesday, NIA had raided at least 10 locations, including residences of human rights activists, journalists and offices of NGOs. (Representational Image)

KABIR KALA Manch members Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor, arrested in the Elgaar Parishad case earlier this week, has told a special court on Friday they were forced to make confessional statements by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Gorkhe, Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap, also part of the cultural group, were produced before the court on Friday by the NIA which sought further custody of the three men to confront them with the electronic items seized during the investigation and their social media accounts.

The court has granted the NIA their further custody till September 19.

While Gorkhe and Gaichor said they had no complaints when asked about any ill-treatment at the hands of the NIA, the duo on Friday submitted before the court that they were forced to make confessional statements.

Special Judge D E Kothalikar said there was a laid down procedure in law regarding obtaining confessions. “Therefore, at this stage, it cannot be said there is substance in the objection raised by the accused on point of obtaining confession by force or otherwise,” the judge said.

All the three accused are poets and singers associated with the Kabir Kala Manch, which the probe agency claims is a “frontal organisation of terrorist outfit CPI-Maoist”. It is not banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The three men were named in an FIR filed by the Pune Police on January 8, 2018, for organising the Elgaar Parishad event in Shaniwar Wada of Pune on December 31, 2017. So far, 15 people have been arrested in the case.

Gorkhe and Gaichor were summoned multiple times by the NIA earlier this month and were placed under arrest on Monday. A video of the two, shot before their arrest, alleged the NIA had told them that if they give an apology letter for being associated with Maoists they would be forgiven.

On Friday, the NIA, through special public prosecutor Prakash Shetty, told the court that the video uploaded by the two men on social media amounted to “interference in investigation”. The court said since they are now in police custody, no separate orders in the matter were necessary. The investigating agency, it said, was at liberty to take appropriate steps for restraining the upload of such videos.

Meanwhile, a plea by lawyer Surendra Gadling, another accused in the case, seeking permission to visit Nagpur for a ceremony after his mother’s death last month, was rejected by the court.

Two others, journalist K V Kurmanath and professor K Satyanarayana, who were summoned by the NIA for a probe on Thursday were allowed to go after questioning.

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