Three months after the death of Maoist sympathiser Stan Swamy, three other co-accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case have alleged that his death was an act of ‘institutional murder’. The trio, identified as Ramesh Gaichor, Sagar Gorkhe and Surendra Gadling, have made these sensational claims in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
The three accused were co-inmates of Stan Swamy at the Taloja Central prison, which is located on the outskirts of Mumbai. In their letter, they alleged, “We are father’s co-accused in the case, and eyewitnesses to the conspiracy against him. It was a well-planned institutional murder. We are disturbed and sad at Father’s death. And we have decided to fast for a day as a mark of protest.” They are reportedly also writing a book called ‘He did not die a natural death”.
The letter, written on July 7 this year, had alleged that the Taloja Central prison Superintendent Kaustubh Kurlekar was responsible for the demise of Stan Swamy. The trio claimed that Kurlekar denied proper treatment to the deceased, kept him in isolation and strip-searched him in front of the prison staff. Ramesh Gaichor, Sagar Gorkhe and Surendra Gadling also accused the prison superintendent of destroying the mental resolve and physical health of Stan Swamy.
“Father already had Parkinson’s and a few other ailments when he was arrested. His health seriously deteriorated in custody because Kurlekar ensured he didn’t get proper treatment in prison,” they claimed. The three accused also alleged that the jail authorities imposed restrictions on the deceased such as denial of necessary medicines, and straw sipper for drinking water. They further claimed, “He desperately needed a helper due to Parkinson’s. To ensure he doesn’t get any help from his co-inmates, he was kept in isolation. It was Kurlekar’s conscious attempt to emasculate him physically and mentally.”
They also said that attempts were made to shift Stan Swamy to Arthur jail from Taloja Central prison. In their letter, the three accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case concluded that the Maoist sympathiser’s death was the result of harassment, deliberate negligence, and improper medical treatment. While pleading for a judicial probe and framing of charges against Kaustubh Kurlekar, they said, “We request you to consider our demands so we and our co-accused don’t meet the same fate as father did.” A copy of the letter has reportedly been sent to the Maharashtra Home Minister, State Human Rights Commissioner and the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court.
Arrest of Stan Swamy and his role in Bhima Koregaon violence
According to the NIA, Stan Swamy was a key conspirator in the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case of 2017, which witnessed violence, stone-pelting, and arson at Shaniwar Wada in Pune. He was arrested on October 8 and produced before the Special Court in Mumbai the following day. Interestingly, he was never put under police custody and was instead remanded to judicial custody at Taloja Central jail. The NIA had informed that all legal formalities, including medical examination, were undertaken.
As per the Central investigative agency, Stan Swamy is a ‘hard-core CPI (Maoist) activist’ who had received funds from other Maoists for furthering the activities of the banned outfit. He is also the convenor of PPSC. “Incriminating documents related to communications for furthering the activities of the banned terrorist organisation CPI (Maoist) were seized from his possession,” the NIA emphasised.