Bhima Koregaon case: NIA files chargesheet against eight accused

The accused have been blamed for holding Elgar Parishad in Pune, which, the NIA states, led to violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018

The Pune police had arrested the activists claiming that the event was organised as part of an alleged Maoist activity and the accused were its members.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Friday filed a supplementary chargesheet before a Mumbai court against eight persons in the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case.

The chargesheet names academic Anand Teltumbde, activist Gautam Navlakha, Delhi University associate professor Hany Babu, members of cultural group Kabir Kala Manch— Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap—Jharkhand-based Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy and absconding accused Milind Teltumbde, who is alleged to be a top operative of banned CPI (Maoist).

The NIA took over the case from Pune police in January this year. It had filed chargesheets against the nine accused arrested earlier including Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Arun Ferriera, Vernon Gonsalves, P Varavara Rao, Shoma Sen and Sudha Bharadwaj.

The 83-year old Swamy, who was arrested on Thursday, was brought to Mumbai from Ranchi and produced before a court at 1.30 pm today. The court directed him to be sent in judicial custody till October 23. He will be lodged at Taloja central jail.

An FIR was filed on January 8 in Pune related to an event organised at Shaniwar Wada called Elgar Parishad on December 31, 2017. The Pune police arrested activists claiming that the event was organised as part of alleged Maoist activity and the accused were its members.

The chargesheet states that the Elgar Parishad led to violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018, where lakhs of Dalits had gathered to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, won by the British army— which comprised largely soldiers from the Dalit community— against the Peshwas in 1818. One more was FIR registered on January 2 against Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide for alleged incitement that lead to violence.

Also read: NIA arrests tribal activist Stan Swamy in Bhima-Koregaon case

The Pune police investigated the matter for two years, before the case was transferred to NIA in January in 2020. The NIA has claimed that incriminating evidence was found with the accused which proves their links to the Maoist group.

The accused have denied charges leveled against them about links with Maoists and said that they are being targeted.

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