Independent Assam MLA Akhil Gogoi’s protection from arrest was on Friday extended by the Supreme Court till March 13 in connection with a case related to anti-CAA protests and alleged Maoist links.
The MLA, who has been vocal against the Centre during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests, moved the top court against the February 9 order of the Gauhati High Court allowing the NIA court in Assam to proceed with the framing of charges against him in one case.
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Justices V Ramasubramanian and Pankaj Mithal deferred the matter to March 13 after noting that the counsel for the petitioner was not available. “Interim protection to continue till next date.”
NIA against bail
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) earlier told the apex court that bail cannot be granted to Gogoi as he was a key Maoist activist even as the MLA argued that the cases against him arose due to “political vendetta”.
The high court had allowed the NIA to seek framing of charges in the special court against Gogoi and three of his associates.
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The high court order came on an appeal of the NIA challenging the order of a special NIA court giving clean chit to the four.
A high court division bench comprising Justices Suman Shyam and Malasri Nandi asked the agency to go ahead with framing charges after reopening the case.
The MLA moved the Supreme Court against the order.
The other three accused are Dhaijya Konwar, Bittu Sonowal and Manash Konwar, all of whom got bail in the NIA case and were released from prison.
Gogoi was the only one whose bail was rejected by the court. He was released after spending 567 days in jail once Special NIA Judge Pranjal Das cleared him along with the three others of all charges.
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The NIA is investigating two cases against Gogoi related to anti-CAA protests. In one of those, the special NIA court had granted him bail, which was upheld by the Gauhati High Court too in April 2021.
The RTI activist continued to be in judicial custody because his bail was rejected in the second case related to anti-CAA violence.
The NIA moved the Gauhati High Court appealing it to allow the agency to frame charges under various sections including sedition.
(With agency inputs)