The National Investigation Agency (NIA) said on Sunday that it has not seized human rights activist Father Stan Swamy ’s straw and sipper, and dismissed the reports as “false, incorrect and mischievous”.
The 83-year-old priest, who ails from Parkinson’s disease, was arrested from his residence in Ranchi on October 8 for his alleged involvement in the 2017 Bhima Koregaon case, and is lodged at the Taloja Jail in Mumbai.
An NIA spokesperson said Fr. Swamy was a “hard-core activist of the banned CPI (Maoist) (Communist Party of India-Maoist) and was chargesheeted on October 9, along with seven other accused, for his involvement in the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case.”
The case relates to an Elgar Parishad event of December 31, 2017 organised at Shaniwarwada in Pune, where allegedly provocative speeches were made, leading to violence resulting in the loss of life and property, and a State-wide agitation in Maharashtra.
“After arresting accused Stan Swamy, NIA produced him before the Special Court in Mumbai along with chargesheet on October 9 and never took his police custody. All the necessary legal formalities such as his medical examination etc. were duly observed. Since then, accused Stan Swamy has been in judicial custody at Taloja Central Jail. Nearly after a month, i.e. on November 6, accused Stan Swamy filed an application in the Hon’ble NIA Court at Mumbai for getting back his straw and sipper, (which he falsely claimed to have been kept by NIA). The Hon’ble Court asked the Agency to file its reply on next date, which was scheduled on November 26. NIA duly filed its reply in the court on the scheduled date stating therein that NIA had conducted his personal search in presence of independent witnesses and no such straw and sipper were found,” NIA said in a statement.
The NIA said that the court rejected Swamy’s application and has issued necessary direction to the jail authorities to provide him with a straw and sipper.
“As the accused was in judicial custody, the matter was between him and the jail authorities which come under the Maharashtra State Administration. The reports claiming that NIA recovered straw and sipper from accused Stan Swamy and sought 20 days’ time from the court to respond to Stan Swamy’s plea to allow him a straw and sipper in Taloja Central Jail, are false, incorrect and mischievous as NIA neither recovered any straw and sipper from the accused nor sought 20 days time to file reply in said application,” NIA said.
It further added that the accused was propagating among other cadre that the arrest of the urban CPI (Maoist) cadre from different parts of country, particularly in Maharashtra, has caused a huge irrevocable damage to CPI (Maoist). The NIA alleged that he received funds from other Maoist cadre for furtherance of the activities of CPI (Maoist). “He is convener of PPSC (Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee), a frontal organisation of CPI (Maoist). Incriminating documents related to communications for furthering the activities of the banned terrorist organisation CPI (Maoist) were seized from his possession,” the NIA alleged.