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NIA seeks transfer of Elgar Parishad case to Mumbai court


Press Trust of India Pune
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has taken over the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case from Pune Police, has filed an application before a court here, seeking transfer of seized evidence, court records and other material to a special NIA court in Mumbai.
Sources said the NIA informed the Pune court that a fresh First Information Report (FIR) has been registered at NIA Police Station in Mumbai under IPC sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups) and 505 (1)(b) (spreading rumours, public mischief).
Charges under terrorism-related provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) have also been pressed in the new FIR, the sources added.
One of the defence lawyers representing the Left- leaning activists arrested in the case said the NIA filed the application before Additional Sessions Judge S R Navandar here on Wednesday.
It prayed to the court for necessary orders to send all the records and 'muddemaal' (seized evidence) to the NIA court in Mumbai.
A report related to the fresh FIR was submitted before the special NIA court in Mumbai on January 27, the lawyer said.
The Pune court called for the Maharashtra government and the accused to file their say, and will hear the NIA's application on Monday, he added.
The Centre last week transferred the probe into the Elgar Parishad case to the NIA, a decision which the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra criticised strongly.
Earlier this week, Pune Police told the NIA that case records will be handed over only after the state Director General of Police issues necessary orders.
The case is related to speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwarwada here on December 31, 2017, and the next day's violence near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial in the district.
Pune Police had claimed that the conclave was backed by Maoists, and the speeches made there triggered the violence.
During the probe, the police arrested activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao for alleged Maoist links.
The Pune police have already filed two chargesheets in the case.
However, the new government in Maharashtra had taken steps to review the police probe.
The Congress and NCP had hit out at the Centre for handing over the case to the NIA, claiming it was done as the BJP feared the earlier government's wrongful actions would get "exposed".
NCP chief Sharad Pawar had last month demanded a Special Investigation Team to probe the action taken by Pune Police against the rights activists in the case.

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First Published: Jan 30 2020 | 8:25 PM IST

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