Elgar Parishad case: Activist Anand Teltumbde moves discharge application

The activist, through his lawyers Sathyanarayanan and Neeraj Yadav, filed a discharge application before special NIA judge DE Kothalikar.
A file photo of Anand Teltumbde. (Express Photo | D Sampathkumar)
A file photo of Anand Teltumbde. (Express Photo | D Sampathkumar)

MUMBAI: Activist Anand Teltumbde, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case, on Thursday moved a discharge application before the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here, stating that the probe agency has not produced any material to show that he is a member of CPI (Maoist) or his alleged role in the case.

Teltumbde (70) was arrested in April 2020 for his alleged links to the Elgar Parishad case and has been lodged in Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai.

The activist, through his lawyers Sathyanarayanan and Neeraj Yadav, filed a discharge application before special NIA judge D E Kothalikar.

According to the plea, the NIA has alleged that Teltumbde and seven others are members of CPI (Maoist) and were deeply involved in the furtherance of the banned organisation's agenda through different means.

CPI (Maoists) believe that the Indian state is being run by a collaboration of imperialist, comprador and bourgeoisie and feudal lords, and the eventual objective is to establish Janta Sarkar through revolution submitted by a commitment to protracted arms struggle to undermine and seize power from the state.

Teltumbde, in his application, claimed that the NIA has not produced any material before the court to show that he is a member of CPI (Maoist).

Responding to the allegation by the probe agency that he along with other activists took part in the programme organised under the banner of Elgar Parishad, Teltumbde claimed that except for an “omnibus statement”, there is no material in the chargesheet to fortify the charge.

The probe agency has alleged that the accused is a senior member of CPI (Maoist) and was in contact with other arrested accused.

He was the general secretary of the CPDR and a member of the Anuradha Ghandy Memorial committee (AGMC), which are the frontal organisations of CPI (Maoist).

Teltumbe claimed that the prosecution has not brought on record any material to show that the CPDR is a frontal organisation of CPI (Maoist), and the evidence collected during the investigation would in fact show that there is no link between the two organisations.

The activist further refuted the NIA's allegation that his role in connection with the Bhima Koregaon programme was appreciated by CPI (Maoist) and there is evidence of an allocation of Rs 10 lakh to him by the banned organisation for his international campaign and visits for furthering its agenda.

The prosecution, in a list of documents, has rolled out several correspondences, allegedly exchanged between various accused.

However, there is nothing in them to decipher that Teltumbde's role in connection with Bhima Koregaon was appreciated, the discharge application stated.

Praying for discharge from the case, Teltumbde has said that the court cannot "act merely as a post office or a mouthpiece" of the prosecution, but has to consider the broad probabilities of the case, total effect of the evidence and documents produced before the court, any basic infirmities, etc.

At the time of framing of the charges, the probative value of the material on record cannot be gone into, but before framing a charge, the court must apply its judicial mind to the material placed on record and must be satisfied that the commission of offence by the accused was possible, the plea said.

Besides Teltumbe, other accused Sudhir Dawale and Mahesh Raut also sought discharge from the case.

Meanwhile, the NIA on Thursday filed its reply to the discharge application of artist and singer Jyoti Jagtap.

The probe agency has claimed that there was adequate grounds and sufficient material evidence on record to sustain the charge against the accused.

It is submitted that the averments made in the grounds seeking discharge of the applicant are not cogent and valid grounds as such present application is devoid of merit and liable to be dismissed, the NIA said.

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the 'Elgar Parishad' conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the city's outskirts.

The Pune police had claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists.

The probe in the case, in which more than a dozen activists and academicians have been named as accused, was later transferred to the National Investigation Agency.

The court will hear the matter on May 4.

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