The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has submitted a list of 17 draft charges in a 15-page document, claimed that the accused of Bhima Koregaon cases recruited students from universities like Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) to carry out terror activities.
The Bhima Koregaon case was initially probed by the Pune police and later transferred to the NIA by the Centre.
As per a report in Economic Times, the NIA has told in the draft charge sheet that all the arrested ‘Urban Naxals’ are “members of the banned terrorist organisation CPI(Maoist) whose main objective is to establish ‘Janata Sarkar’ i.e.people’s government via revolution supported by a commitment to protracted armed struggle to undermine and to seize power from the state.”
Accused ‘activists’ organised training camps to recruit cadres to carry out terror activities: NIA
In furtherance of their conspiracy to “wage a war against the nation”, the accused, being active members of banned terrorist outfit CPI (Maoist) and its frontal organisations, recruited students from various universities, the draft said. It added that the accused organised training camps in various regions to recruit cadres at all levels for the “commission of terrorist activities” of the CPI (M).
The NIA has laid down 17 charges against the 15 accused ‘Urban Naxals’ who include self-proclaimed ‘activists’ and alleged human rights lawyers, namely, Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Hany Babu, Anand Teltumbde, Shoma Sen, Gautam Navlakha, late Stan Swamy and others. The accused have been sought to be charged under various sections of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The accused persons also sought and collected funds for the purposes of terrorism, the NIA alleged. They were involved in organising, collecting and participating in providing funds through the banned CPI (Maoist) in order to cover the expenses of rebellious activities, and coordinated the Bhima Koregaon programme, held in Pune, with underground Naxalites, the charge sheet says.
They exploited the communal sentiments of Dalit and other minority forces and individuals across the state and provoked them in the name of caste in order to create instability and chaos in Maharashtra, the draft added.
Though the draft charge sheet spoke of a conspiracy to arrange weapons “to attempt or cause the death of public functionary”, it did not particularly mention the assassination plot against PM Narendra Modi.
Framing of charges is the first step before trial commences in the case. The NIA had submitted the draft charge sheet earlier this month, however, it was made available only on Monday, August 23.
Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon Case
The Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case pertains to an event organised at Shaniwar Wada called Elgar Parishad on December 31, 2017. The following day, i.e January 1, 2018, large scale violence broke out at Bhima Koregaon, where lakhs of Dalits had gathered to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, won by the British Army against the Peshwas in 1818.
An FIR was filed in connection with the violence on January 8 after which Pune Police kickstarted a probe into it.
The Pune police continued the probe in the matter for 2 years after which the investigation was transferred to the National Investigation Agency in January 2020. The agency said that incriminating documents and letters were found on the devices of some of the accused, tying their links to the banned CPI(M) group. Soon after, the case was transferred to the NIA.