Police haven’t attached key email, says Bharadwaj’s lawyer

Sudha Bharadwaj  

The lawyer appearing for trade unionist and human rights lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj in the Elgar Parishad case filed a rejoinder in the Bombay High Court on Friday, saying that the Pune Police have not added an email, which refutes their claim, to the charge sheet.

Additional public prosecutor Aruna Pai concluded her arguments before a Single Judge Bench of Justice S.V. Kotwal, opposing bail pleas filed by Ms. Bharadwaj and activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira.

Advocate Yug Chaudhry then filed a rejoinder on behalf of Ms. Bharadwaj, who has been lodged at the Yerwada Central Jail for the last 14 months. He said the Pune Police had access to Ms. Bharadwaj’s electronic devices and email accounts in June and August 2018 respectively, and despite that a particular email is not a part of the supplementary charge sheet filed on February 21, 2019.

The rejoinder says the prosecution relied upon emails exchanged between Mr. Ferreira, Ms. Bharadwaj and Shoma Sen, also an accused in the case who is lodged at the Yerwada jail, on March 6 and 7, 2017. The emails said that as the vice president of the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), Ms. Bharadwaj would be present at the meeting of the association on March 19. However, on March 20, Mr. Ferriera had sent out another email that said Ms. Bharadwaj was not present at the meeting. This email was not taken into consideration by the Pune Police, Mr. Chaudhry said.

He said in the rejoinder that the email in question goes to the heart of the matter and directly contradicts the letter — allegedly written by Ms. Bharadwaj and dated April 16, 2017, by the Forensic Science Laboratory — that the prosecution has relied on.

He alleges that the prosecution had made a statement that it would submit a compilation of emails in the supplementary charge sheet, which it has not done till date and has instead tried to surreptitiously introduce the letters during the court hearing.

The hearing will continue on October 7.

Ms. Pai had said on Thursday that there was sufficient prima facie material to charge Ms. Bharadwaj under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. She had said the IAPL, Anuradha Gandhi Memorial Committee, Committee for Release of Political Prisoners, and Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee were front organisations of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2020 7:40:02 AM |

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