Only High Court can transfer Elgar Parishad case to NIA court: Defence

A sessions court in Pune is hearing an application filed by the National Investigation Agency to transfer the case.

Published - February 06, 2020 07:30 pm IST - Pune:

A defence lawyer in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case argued on Thursday that only the High Court can transfer the case to the special NIA court.

A sessions court in Pune is hearing an application filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to transfer the case.

The agency moved the court after the Union government transferred the probe to the Central agency.

The NIA lawyer on Thursday sought transfer of case papers, seized data, court records and proceedings to the special NIA court in Mumbai.

Advocate Siddharth Patil, one of the defence lawyers, argued that as per Section 407 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, a case can be transferred from one district to another only by the High Court.

“Not only the (main) chargesheet but supplementary chargesheet has been filed and we are in the middle of framing charges,” he said.

“This court does not have the power to transfer the case,” he argued.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar said she wanted a day’s time to argue on the NIA’s plea. Additional sessions judge S.R. Navandar then adjourned the hearing to Friday.

The Centre last month transferred the probe from Pune Police to the NIA, a decision which the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra criticised.

The case is related to speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, and the next day’s violence near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial in the district.

Pune Police claimed that the conclave was backed by Maoists, and the speeches made there triggered the violence.

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.

The new government in Maharashtra had taken steps to review the police probe.

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