February 20, 2017 4:20:50 am
THE NAVI Mumbai police wants to hand over custody of 2008 Malegaon blasts accused Major Ramesh Upadhyay to Uttar Pradesh Police for the three weeks he will be in the state for poll campaigning. Upadhyay has been granted interim permission by the special court hearing the Malegaon blasts case to travel to Uttar Pradesh for three weeks along with a police escort team to the constituency from which he is contesting elections.
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Navi Mumbai police wrote to the court on Saturday that its officers will not be apprised with local intelligence in Uttar Pradesh (UP) as well as the law and order situation there at the time of elections, and so they be permitted to hand over the accused to UP police. The Navi Mumbai police has suggested that they will escort Upadhyay till UP from where the local police can take over. They also sough clarifications from the court on whether Upadhyay is to be handcuffed at all times and whether he should be sent to a prison at the end of each day of campaigning.
Special public prosecutor Avinash Rasal said that the court, in its order two weeks ago, said that Upadhyay has been permitted to campaign and will remain housed at one proposed residence the details of which will be given to both the court and the Superintendent of Taloja jail. “It has been clarified that since the accused is in the judicial custody of this court, he cannot be handed over to UP police. The Navi Mumbai police can seek local assistance if required from the UP police as per its own requirement,” said Rasal.
He added that the police have also stated their inability to provide personnel before the completion of civic elections in Maharashtra till February 25.
Upadhyay, who has been in custody since 2008, had also contested in the 2012 UP polls but had not been permitted to travel for campaigning then. He has also written to the Navi Mumbai police headquarters last week stating that due to demonetisation, he would not be able to pay for the entire expenditure of the policemen accompanying him, who are seeking part-payment. DCP Sudhakar Pathare (Headquarters) said that the court had been informed that the expenses involved in travel, food and stay of the police team, will amount to over Rs 8 lakh, which the accused is expected to pay, as per rules.
“We are in the process of finalising whether to take up the journey at all if the expenses involved are high. By next week, we will decide on whether to spend the money instead on campaigning without my father in UP,” said Vishal, Upadhyay’s son.
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