Bhima Koregaon case: NIA files charge-sheet against eight people including DU professor Hany Babu
The case relates to the violence on January 1, 2018 in which one person was killed and several injured after clashes at the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Koregaon near Pune.
MUMBAI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday filed a second supplementary 10,000 page-long charge sheet in the Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parished violence case against Father Stan Swamy, Prof Anand Teltumbde, Prof Hany Babu, Gautam Navlakha, and three members of a cultural group Kabir Kala Manch – Jyoti Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor.
The charge sheet filed by the probe agency has accused all the eight social and political activists of conspiring with other accused to further the ideology of CPI-Maoist. These activists have been charged for criminal conspiracy, waging war against the country under IPC, and under Sections 13, 16, 17, 18, 20, 38, 39 and 40 under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
"NIA investigation revealed systematic network of Maoists operating for the supply of arms and ammunitions, having proper nexus with the Maoist cadre and other banned organisations within and outside India. The strategy and tactics adopted by the Maoists to carry out urban revolution with their frontal outfits have also been revealed,” the charge sheet stated.
The charge sheet further reads that the accused activists are funding among the Maoist cadre and their sympathisers to carry out Maoist work in rural as well as urban areas that came to the fore.
NIA says Anand Teltumbde was one of the conveners of ‘Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerana Abhiyan’, an Elgar Parishad event organised on December 31, 2017, and was present at Shaniwar Wada on the day it was organised. Milind Teltumbde, secretary of Maoist Maharashtra State Committee, is Anand’s brother. He is currently absconding.
Gautam Navlakha was reportedly tasked with uniting intellectuals against the Indian government forces to defeat them both physically and otherwise. The NIA says he was also given the task of recruitment for CPI-Maoist. But in the most damaging indictment, NIA alleges Navlakha was also in touch with Pakistan's spy agency ISI.
Hany Babu, an associate professor at Delhi University, was allegedly given the task of organising visits of foreign journalists to Maoist areas. The NIA says he was also in contact with banned terror groups in the northeast. That Babu was actively trying to secure the release of G N Saibaba, an English professor at Delhi University currently lodged in jail for being part of CPI-Maoist, has also been presented as evidence by the NIA.
Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap have been accused of actively conspiring and propagating the Maoist conspiracy throughout Maharashtra. The NIA says Kabir Kala Manch is the front organisation of CPI-Maoist.
Father Stan Swamy, 83, a Jesuit priest and activist working with tribal people was arrested on Thursday night by NIA Ranchi from his house and has been sent to judicial custody till October 23. He will be in Taloja Central jail with the other co-accused.
The NIA officials said all the named accused were providing “funding, leadership, intellectual support to Maoists in urban pockets."
"This case is similar to the Hurriyat funding case that NIA investigated. It tells us who is channelling the Maoist movement in urban centres, helping them in whatever way possible," a senior officer said.
Interestingly, these two charge sheets have no mention of Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote - executive president of an outfit called ‘Samastha Hindu Aghadi’ and Sambhaji Bhide ‘Guruji’ who heads the outfit Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan. Their names were registered on the basis of an eye witness that they had incited violence against the Dalit congregation.
TIMELINE OF NIA ARRESTS
NIA filed a first charge sheet in November 2018 against Sudhir Dhawale, an activist, Surendra Gadling, a criminal lawyer practising in Nagpur, Dr Shoma Sen, a professor and Head of Department, English at Nagpur University, activists Rona Wilson and Mahesh Raut.
In February 2019, the central agency filed their first supplementary charge sheet against the poet Varavara Rao, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, activists Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves. It is alleged that all accused are active members of a banned Maoist group.
NIA took over the investigation from Pune police on January 2020. All accused are booked for allegedly delivering inflammatory speeches at Elgar Parishad conclave at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which triggered violence at Bhima Koregaon war memorial the next day.