MUMBAI: While five prominent Left-wing activists arrested last week got partial relief after the Supreme Court’s intervention, there was none in sight for five other rights activists already under arrest since June for their alleged links with Maoists.
With the 90-day deadline for filing the chargesheet set to end on Monday, the police petitioned the district and sessions court in Pune on Saturday seeking additional time to do so. They said they had added seven new names to the FIR and arrested five of them last week. Since processing the fresh evidence would require much more time, the police sought 90 extra days for filing the chargesheet. The court granted the request.
The defence team objected to the petition and urged the court to schedule the hearing on Monday. But since the prosecution said the investigation officer had to go to Delhi on Monday for a hearing in the Supreme Court, the Pune court scheduled the hearing for Sunday.
According to ACP Shivaji Pawar of the Pune Police, when the court began on Sunday by asking the defence team to put forth their argument, they sought more time for filing the reply. The court declined the request and immediately gave the prosecution 90 more days to file the chargesheet. The court told the defence team they were free to move the upper court against the order.
Defence lawyer Rohan Nahar said they would probably move the Bombay High Court against the decision on Monday.
The five activists were arrested by the Pune Police on June 6 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for their alleged Maoists links and role in the Elgaar Parishad at Pune on December 31, 2017 that allegedly led to violence at Bhima-Koregaon on January 1.
Know the activists arrested in June
The activists arrested in June are advocate Surendra Gadling, general secretary of the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers, Prof Shoma Sen, Head of Department of English at Nagpur University, Sudhir Dhawale, editor of Vidrohi magazine, Rona Wilson (pic), public relations secretary of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CORPP) and Mahesh Raut, Bharat Jan Andolan activist and former recipient of the PM’s Rural Development (PMRD) fellowship for Gadchiroli district