Bhima Koregaon case: NIA submits 17 draft (proposed) charges, no mention of plot to kill PM

NIA’s case is largely based on some letters exchanged between accused researcher Rona Wilson and Surendra Gadling

Representative image
Representative image

NH Web Desk

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) draft charges against the accused in Bhima Koregain case don't mention a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as claimed in 2018 but mention "cause the death of a public functionary.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has said that the accused in the Koregaon-Bhima and Elgar Parishad cases had allegedly recruited students of two top Indian universities for terror activities in the country and in Maharashtra.

The NIA statement comes in the draft charge sheet in the twin cases filed against 16 arrested accused and six other absconders in the sensational cases that have rocked the Indian polity for the past four years.

The draft charge sheet, which included 17 draft (proposed) charges, was filed before the NIA Special Court's Special Judge D.E. Kothalikar last week after long investigations into the twin cases.

As per the NIA, the accused had "recruited students from various universities including the two highly reputed Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai) for commission of terrorist activities".

They are accused of promoting the activities and ideologies of the banned outfits, mobilising people and students, training in handling sophisticated arms and explosives with the larger objective to conspire against and destabilise the government of India and Government of Maharashtra, threaten its sovereignty with large-scale violence, strike terror in the people, among other things.

For these objectives, the NIA said that the accused through the banned organisation and its frontal outfits, had arranged to raise Rs 8 crore for annual supplies of M-4 (sophisticated weapons) with 4,00,000 rounds and others arms from suppliers in Manipur and neighbouring country of Nepal to overawe and undermine the Centre and the Maharashtra governments.

The arrested accused in the cases are: Sudhir P. Dhawale, Vernon S. Gonsalves (both of Mumbai), Arun T. Fereira of Thane, Rona J. Wilson and Gautam Navlakha (all of New Delhi), Surendra P. Gadling, Shoma K. Sen, Mahesh S. Raut (all of Nagpur), P. Varavara Rao of Hyderabad, Sudha Bharadwaj of Faridabad, Anand B. Teltumbde of Yavatmal, Hany Babu M. Tharayil of Trichur, Sagar Gorkhe of Ahmednagar, Ramesh Gaichor of Pune, and the late Fr. Stan Lourduswamy of Tamil Nadu, who died on July 5 in Mumbai while in custody.

The accused named as absconders are: Milind Teltumbde aliases Dipak and Sahyadri of Yavatmal, Prakash Goswami aliases Navin and Ritupan Goswami of Assam, Kishan Bose aliases Prashanto of Kolkata, Mupalla Laxman Rao, alias Ganpati, Chandrashekhar, Manglu, and Deepu.

The NIA said that all the accused are 'active members' of the banned terrorist organisation CPI (Maoist) and its frontal organisations which were declared unlawful by the Union Home Ministry in 2009.

The frontal organisations listed by the NIA are: Kabir Kala Manch (which organised the Elgar Parishad at Pune on December 31, 2017, the alleged fallout of which were the caste riots in Koregaon-Bhima on January 1, 2018), Anuradha Ghandy Memorial Committee, Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee, Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, Coordination of Democratic Rights Organisation, Democratic Students Union, Visthapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan, and Revolutionary Writers Association.

The accused have been charged for waging a war against the country, conspiracy, sedition, and promoting hate and enmity between two communities, among other charges.

The charges claimed that the CPI (Maoist) members’ “main objective is to establish "Jantana Sarkar" i.e. 'people's Government' via revolution supported by a commitment to protracted armed struggle to undermine and to seize power from the State.”

The draft charges mention “cause the death of a public functionary” as opposed to the 2019 claim by the Pune Police that there was a plot to assassinate PM Modi, Live Law reported.

A special court will now decide the IPC and UAPA offences based on which the trial of the accused will take place.

NIA’s case is largely based on some letters exchanged between accused researcher Rona Wilson and Surendra Gadling.

Earlier this year, Wilson approached the HC to “quash the case against him” after it was proved that his computer was infected and evidence was planted on it.

(With inputs from IANS)

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