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Pune court transfers Elgar Parishad case to Mumbai's NIA court

Pune court transfers Elgar Parishad case to Mumbai's NIA court

A court in Pune hearing the Elgar Parishad case on Friday passed an order to transfer the case to a special NIA court in Mumbai. Additional Sessions Judge S R Navander ordered that records and proceedings of the case be sent to the special NIA court in Mumbai, along with entire 'muddemal property' in sealed condition.

Before the judge passed the order, the prosecution submitted an application stating they do not have an objection to the National Investigation Agency's plea seeking transfer of the case. "....at this juncture, the investigating officer of the state agency has produced an order of the state government dated 12/02/2020 thereby directing hand over of investigation of the case to NIA," the order said.

"Thus, it becomes clear that the state investigating agency is handing over the investigation to NIA and therefore there remained no question of entrustment of investigation to the NIA, which was raised by the accused," said the order.

Two days ago, the state government said it has no objection to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) taking over the probe into the Elgar Parishad case. The judge, in his order, directed the state police to hand over all the papers related to the investigation of the case to NIA. "The agency (NIA) is directed to arrange for transportation of the record and proceedings, along with muddemal (related to the case)," read the order.

Judge Navander then directed that all the accused be produced before special NIA court in Mumbai on or before February 28. The judge observed that the object and the purpose of NIA Act is to constitute an investigating agency at national level to investigate and prosecute offences affecting the sovereignty, security, and integrity of India.

"Having regard to the aim and object of the NIA Act, the order of investigation through NIA cannot be said to be illegal or improper. That apart, the order of the transfer of investigation to NIA has not been challenged nor it has been set aside. Therefore, this court has to abide by provisions of NIA Act," said the order.

The order further added that although the charge sheet has already been filed, some of the accused are yet to be arrested. "Therefore, it cannot be said that the investigation in the case has been completed and nothing remains to be done by NIA. Section 173 (8) of CrPC empowers NIA to make further investigation even after filing of the charge sheet. It cannot be termed as re-investigation as argued on behalf of the accused," the judge said.

The court maintained that in the eyes of law it is not a transfer of case but sending the case to proper court due to lack of jurisdiction. The Centre had last month transferred the probe into the case from the Pune police to the NIA, a move criticised by the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra.

The NIA had submitted the application before the court in the last week of January. The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which police claimed triggered violence near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in the district the next day. Pune police claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists.

During the probe, the police arrested Left-leaning activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao for alleged Maoist links. These nine activists, currently in jail, are among 11 people booked by the NIA in the Elgar Parishad case.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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