Pune police seek more time to file chargesheet

Maharashtra Police ADG (Law and Order) Param Bir Singh, with Pune's Additional CP Shivaji Bodke (L), at a press conference about the house arrest of rights activists in Bhima Koregaon case, in Mumbai on Friday. PTI

In a significant development involving the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon cases, the Pune police on Saturday sought additional time to file chargesheet against the five human rights activists arrested for reported Maoist-links, in June.

These suspects are Surendra Gadling, general secretary of the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers from Nagpur; Prof Shoma Sen, head of department of English, Nagpur University; Sudhir Dhawale, editor, Vidrohi from Mumbai; Rona Wilson, public relations secretary, committee for the release of political prisoners (CORPP) and Mahesh Raut, anti-displacement activist from Bharat Jan Andolan and former Fellow at prime minister’s rural development (PMRD) for Gadchiroli district.

All of them were arrested on June 6 by the Pune police and since then have been behind the bars.

On Saturday, the Pune police told the Shivajinagar Court that they need more time to file the chargesheet.

The defence teams, however, objected to it and urged the court to schedule the hearing on Monday.

However, the prosecution told the court that since the investigation officer have to go for the hearing in Supreme Court, they would like the plea to be heard.

The court has scheduled the hearing on Sunday.

As per the norms, the chargesheet has to be filed within 90 days from the date of arrest.

However, since the Pune Police officials said that since the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, has been invoked in the case, they can seek additional time to file the chargesheet. 

It is pertinent to mention here that from Wilson's residence, police seized a letter that mentions of a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the way Rajiv Gandhi was killed.

It may be recalled that a case registered on January 8, at Vishram Baug police station in  Pune with regard to the holding of the Elgar Parishad at Shaniwarwada on December 31, 2017 by the Bhima-Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan on the eve January 1 caste riots.

This FIR, originally registered u/s 153(A), 505 (1)(b), 117 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), was made a conspiracy case in March 2018 and later had sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) added to it.

In the original FIR, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani and Jawaharlal Nehru University students' leader Umar Khalid were named, however, no action is taken so far.

Similarly, there has been no action against  the two main organisers of Elgar Parishad— Justice (Retd) PB Sawant, a former Supreme Court judge and former Chairman of Press Council of India, and Justice (Retd) B G Kholse-Patil, a former judge of Bombay High Court and a veteran activist.

The Supreme Court hearing pertains to the second round of arrests on 28 August in which Marxist ideologue P Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira were arrested.

The Supreme Court has ordered house arrest for them and scheduled the next hearing on September 6.

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Pune police seek more time to file chargesheet

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