Mumbai: The NIA on Friday filed a supplementary charge-sheet against eight people, including activists Gautam Navlakha and 82-year-old Father Stan Swamy, for their alleged involvement in inciting a mob to violence in Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1, 2018 and accused them of waging war against the state, officials said.
The 10,000-page charge-sheet, filed before a court here, brings in both the threat of Maoists for an urban revolution and Pakistan's ISI, alleging that the eight were involved in spreading the ideology of Maoism/Naxalism and encouraging lawless activities.
The National Investigation Agency said its probe showed a "systematic network of Maoists that operated for the supply of arms and ammunition and had a close nexus with other banned proscribed organisations within and outside India". Navlakha is alleged to have links with Pakistan's ISI, according to the NIA.
Ahead of filing the chargesheet, the NIA arrested Swamy, who said he has never been to Bhima Koregaon, from his home in Ranchi on Thursday evening and brought him to Mumbai where he was produced before a court on Friday and remanded to judicial custody till October 23.
Swamy, the sixteenth person to be arrested in the case, is possibly the oldest person to be charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), officials said.
Barring one person Milind Teltumbde who is absconding all other named in the charge-sheet are in judicial custody.
Besides Navlakha and Swamy, the others named in the charge-sheet are Delhi University associate professor Hany Babu, Goa Institute of Management professor Anand Teltumbde, and Jyoti Jagtap, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor, activists of the Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyaan group.
They were arrested during the course of the investigation into 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.
Pune Police has alleged the violence was caused following provocative speeches by members of the group Elgar Parishad the day before on December 31, 2017.
Terming the CPI(Maoist) a terrorist organisation, the charge-sheet said the eight conspired with other accused to further the group's ideology, abetted violence, brought into hatred and incited disaffection towards the government established by law and promoted enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, caste and community .
According to the NIA, the strategy and tactics adopted by Maoists to carry out an urban revolution with their frontal outfits has also been revealed during the investigation.
Besides, funding activities of Maoist cadres and their sympathisers to carry out Maoist work in rural as well urban areas have come to the fore, it said.
This is the third charge-sheet filed by an investigating agency in the case. Pune Police had earlier filed charge-sheets in this case on December 15, 2018 and February 21, 2019 against 15 people.
The NIA said the role of various frontal organisations of the CPI (Maoist) emerged during the investigation. The agency alleged that incriminating documents were recovered from the accused. These include discreet communications with other Maoist cadres over the conspiracy in the violence at Bhima Koregaon, the charge-sheet stated.
Various documents on the mobilisation of Maoist cadres against the constitutionally established government, information on the movement of security forces with the intention of causing heavy damage to the state were also found, it said.
Detailing individual charges, the NIA said Milind Teltumbde organised training camps for imparting weapons training to the other accused.
Navlakha's active role and involvement was revealed in secret communications with the CPI (Maoist) cadres and he was assigned the task of uniting intellectuals against the government, the charge-sheet alleged.
"His links with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) also came to fore," an NIA spokesperson said.
Anand Teltumbde was one of the convenors of "the Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan" and was present at the December 31 event of the Elgar Parishad.
He is alleged to have played an active role with other Maoist cadres and received funds from them for carrying out the activities.
Hany Babu Is alleged to have been instrumental in organising visits of foreign journalists to CPI (Maoist) areas. He was also in contact with the banned terrorist organisation Kanglepak Communist Party (KCP) of Manipur and made efforts for the release of convicted accused G N Saibaba on the directions of the CPI (Maoist) and also raised funds for the purpose, the NIA said.
The agency alleged that Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap are trained cadres of the CPI (Maoist) and members of its frontal organisation Kabir Kala Manch.
Swamy, the NIA claimed, was also actively involved in the activities of the CPI (Maoist).
The NIA alleged that he was in contact with "conspirators" -- Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Hany Babu, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde -- to further the group's activities.
The agency said Swamy had also received funds through an associate for furthering the agenda. Besides, he is convenor of the Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC), a frontal organisation of the CPI(Maoist), the officials claimed.
Swamy's lawyer Sharif Shaikh said his client was produced physically before the court. "The NIA did not seek his custody. He is aged. We will peruse the papers and file for a bail," he said.
Ahead of his arrest in the evening, Swamy posted a video on Thursday morning saying the NIA had been interrogating him and had questioned him for 15 hours during a span of five days.
"Now they want me to go to Mumbai, which I have said that I won't go," he said, citing the pandemic. The video, posted on YouTube, was recorded two days before his arrest.
"I have never been to Bhima Koregaon for which I am being made an accused," he said.
"...what is happening to me is not something unique happening to me alone, it is a broader process taking place all over the country. We all are aware how prominent intellectuals, lawyers, writers, poets, activists, student leaders are all put in jail because they have expressed their dissent or raised questions about the ruling powers of India," Swamy said in the video.
He said he is part of "the process" and in a way happy to be so because he is not a silent spectator and is part of the game.
"I am ready to pay the price whatever be it," Swamy said.
The NIA took up the investigation of the case on January 24, 2020. It said it brought reliable, material and documentary evidence on record through "meticulous, scientific and detailed analysis of more than 10,000 pages of communications made by various accused".
"NIA's investigation revealed that the tentacles of conspiracy were not only spread throughout the country but also extended beyond India," an NIA spokesperson said.
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New Delhi, May 16: The Centre directed Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on Sunday to prevent dumping of dead bodies in the Ganga and its tributaries, and focus on their safe disposal and a dignified cremation after corpses were seen floating in these rivers following a spurt in the number of coronavirus cases.
At a review meeting conducted on May 15-16, the Centre said dumping of dead bodies and partially burnt or decomposed corpses in the Ganga and its tributaries has recently been reported, which is "most undesirable and alarming".
"Namami Gange directs states to prevent dumping of dead bodies in the Ganga and focus on their safe disposal and providing support for ensuring dignified cremation," the Jal Shakti Ministry said.
The state pollution control boards were directed to monitor the water quality more frequently in consultations with the health departments.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was assigned the task of overall monitoring, providing guidance to the state pollution control boards and taking up advanced analysis in the matter.
Support for cremation needs to be given top priority. Effective implementation of the government orders needs to be ensured. No loss of time should take place in implementation, the ministry said.
An advisory was issued by Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, to the district magistrates, who are also the chairpersons of the district Ganga committees, on May 11.
This was followed up by a letter the next day to the chief secretaries to prevent the dumping of dead bodies in the river and ensure enforcement of the government guidelines on the cremation of COVID-19 victims.
The letter also advised the states to provide financial assistance as well as regulate the rates for the cremation or burial process.
On May 15, the steps taken in this regard in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were reviewed at a meeting chaired Pankaj Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, and further action points were decided.
Highlighting the instructions already given, Kumar had called for expeditious action and underscored the need to give equal attention to such incidents in urban and rural areas along the Ganga and other rivers.
"Stopping of dumping of dead bodies as well as their safe disposal and protection of water quality have to be ensured on a war footing. After knowing the progress from the states, the CWC (Central Water Commission), the CPCB and the state pollution control boards would also be giving their feedback and action plans," he had said.
Mishra stated that the situation is being monitored and follow-up action is being taken in several districts such as Unnao, Kanpur rural, Ghazipur and Balia in Uttar Pradesh and Buxar and Saran in Bihar.
However, some cases have also been reported from other districts. He asked the state missions to keep an eye on the situation.
Mishra emphasised the need to strengthen enforcement, maintain vigil and take proactive action to facilitate and support the families for the cremation of the bodies and asked the state missions to specifically report on this.
"If needed, the project directors can assess and also give support to the district Ganga committees for this out of the NMCG funds available with them, while keeping the NMCG informed," he said.
Rajnish Dubey, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development, and Anurag Shrivastav, Principal Secretary, Jal Shakti and Project Director, State Ganga Mission, represented Uttar Pradesh in the meeting.
Shrivastava said all the district magistrates have been alerted about the issue and patrolling is being carried out to prevent dumping of dead bodies in the Ganga.
He also informed that 13 crematoria under Namami Gange, in addition to the existing ones, have been made available for the cremation of dead bodies.
It was informed that orders have been issued for financial support for cremations in urban areas. Dubey said similar orders for a financial support of Rs 5,000 have been issued by the Panchayati Raj department for rural areas and the SDRF and other forces have also been asked to carry out patrolling.
Anand Kishore, Principal Secretary, Urban Development and Project Director, State Ganga Mission, Government of Bihar, informed that it has been decided that the cremation or burial expenses of those dying due to COVID-19 will be borne by the state government.
He added that even if the deceased did not have a COVID-positive report but showed symptoms of the disease, the family will be offered this support.
He also said patrolling is being done to prevent further dumping of dead bodies in the river, especially in districts like Buxar and Saran (Chhapra).
CWC Chairman S K Halder informed that they are monitoring the flow and the water quality of the river through their stations and will further increase the frequency.
CPCB Member Secretary Prashant Gargava said the board has forewarned all water monitoring stations along the Ganga and her tributaries. The periodicity of testing the water quality has also been increased.
Debashree Mukherjee, Additional Secretary with the Jal Shakti Ministry, stated that besides an urgent assessment of the risks to the riverside communities by the pollution control boards, there is a need to raise awareness on the dos and don'ts as regards the use of river water and to prevent such incidents of dumping of bodies in the river.