The Supreme Court on Friday deferred the hearing in the arrests of activists, held for alleged Maoist links in connection with the Elgar Parishad case and the Bhima Koregaon violence.
Earlier on October 29, the apex court had stayed the Bombay High Court order that had put on hold a trial court decision granting more time to Maharashtra Police to complete the investigation against five accused.
The Pune Police in its chargesheet claimed that the Elgaar Parishad, a one-day conference held in Pune on December 31 last year, was organised as per a plan by the banned CPI-Maoist, to mobilise backward classes and other organisations against the government. It further alleged that the 'inciting speeches' at the event 'provoked the masses and aggravated violence' in Bhima Koregaon the next day, January 1, when thousands of people had gathered there to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.
The chargesheet released by the police on Thursday named 10 accused,including activists Sudhir Dhawale and Rona Wilson, lawyer Surendra Gadling, professor Shoma Sen and former Prime Minister Rural Development fellow Mahesh Raut, all of whom were arrested on June 6. The other accused are Milind Teltumbde, Prakash alias Ritupan Goswami, Manglu, Deepu and Kishan alias Prashanto Bose. All 22 accused in the case have been booked under the stringent UAPA and sections of Indian Penal Code.The chargesheet also accuses Dhawale, Raut, Sen and Gadling of channeling Maoist funds for Elgaar Parishad.
Police have so far booked 22 people in this case including five rights activists and lawyers Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Gautam Navlakha who were arrested on August 28. Police claim they are part of 'the larger conspiracy' of the CPI (Maoist) to form a an'Anti Fascist Front' to overthrow the government.
These five were placed under house arrest for five weeks on the directions of the Supreme Court on September 28. Bharadwaj, Gonsalves and Ferreira were later arrested by police and are in judicial custody. Varavara Rao's house arrest has been extended by three weeks. Navlakha and another activist, Anand Teltumbde moved Bombay High Court, saying their names should be dropped from the FIR. The High Court has extended the interim relief granted to them until the next hearing on November 21.