No allegation of Navlakha committing any act of violence, says lawyer


Mumbai: There is no allegation against Gautam Navlakha of committing any “act of violence” in the voluminous chargesheet filed in the Elgar Parisha-Maoist links case, the activist’s lawyer told the Bombay High Court on Monday.

While arguing for the activist’s bail, the lawyer also said that there was no prospect of the trial in the case to commence in the near future.

A division bench of Justices A S Gadkari and P D Naik is hearing the arguments on the bail plea, and the same will continue on Tuesday.

Navlakha was arrested in April 2020 after he surrendered before the National Investigation Agency (NIA), and is currently under house arrest pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order.

Appearing for Navlakha, advocate Yug Chaudhary said there was not a single allegation of the activist committing any act of violence, association of violence, abetment of violence, or being part of conspiracy to commit violence in the chargesheet filed by the probe agency.

Hence, no offence under chapter IV (punishment for terrorist activities) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), is made out, he argued.

“The basic ingredient of chapter IV is commission of a terror act, abetment, association or conspiracy. There is nothing against me (accused),” the lawyer submitted.

“There was no description of terrorist acts in the chargesheet No seizure of bombs, arms…there has to be something. It cannot be an imagination,” he said.

Chaudhary, further, claimed that if at all any allegation is made out, it is for offences carrying five to 10 years of imprisonment.

He also pointed out the delay in commencement of trial while arguing for Navlakhha’s bail.

The discharge application was argued months ago, but the prosecution is yet to file its reply. A large number of discharge applications (of other accused) are pending and charges have not been framed yet, the lawyer submitted.

Hence, there is no prospect of the trial to begin soon. Even if the trial begins, it will go on for decades, he added.

Chaudhary further informed the court that till today, they haven’t received the clone copies of the documents seized from the computer of the accused.

The Elgar case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in Pune district.

The police had also claimed that the conclave was backed by Maoists. Later the probe in the case, where more than a dozen activists and academicians have been named as accused, was transferred to the NIA.

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( With inputs from )

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