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‘Gautam Navlakha is a part of the ISI nexus’: NIA opposes bail plea of the Bhima Koregaon violence accused

NIA contended, "Gautam Navlakha was introduced to a Pakistani ISI General for his recruitment by Ghulam Nabi Fai on the direction of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), showing his nexus and complicity with Ghulam Nabi Fai and Pakistani ISI."

On 22nd February 2023, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) opposed the bail plea filed by the urban naxal Gautam Navlakha in the Bombay High Court saying that the accused had connections with a Pakistani ISI agent arrested in the US. The court will hear the next arguments on this bail petition on 27th February 2023.

NIA contended, “Gautam Navlakha was introduced to a Pakistani ISI General for his recruitment by Ghulam Nabi Fai on the direction of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), showing his nexus and complicity with Ghulam Nabi Fai and Pakistani ISI.” Further the NIA has also submitted that “Ghulam Nabi Fai was arrested by the FBI in July 2011 for accepting funds from ISI and Pakistan Government, but failed to report the origin of those funds, as required by US law.”

NIA further said, “It is established that, accused Gautan Navlakha had written a letter to the Hon’ble Judge of the US Court, trying Ghulam Fai’s case for clemency. Accused Gautam Navlakha had also submitted letters to Hon’ble US Court on behalf of Fai.”

While arguing against the bail plea by the urban naxl accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, NIA has quoted the ISI connection of the accused as said in the charge sheet against Gautam Navlakha in October 2020.

The National Investigation Agency in its charge sheet claimed that accused Gautam Navlakha had links with Pakistan’s notorious intelligence agency ISI and he had sought mercy for ISI agent Ghulam Nabi Fai, who is convicted in the United States for terror funding.

The charge-sheet further mentions that Navlakha was introduced to the Pakistani ISI General Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai on the instructions of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and was in touch with the ISI agent over phone and email.

Gautam Navlakha sought clemency for Pakistani ISI agent in US court

Navlakha had reportedly visited the United States thrice in the period between 2010-2011 and written to a US district court judge seeking clemency for Fai, who was arrested by the FBI in 2011 on the charges of accepting funds to the tunes of several million from the ISI and the Pakistan government.

Citing the US court order from 2012, the NIA charge-sheet read: “Ghulam Nabi Fai was arrested by the FBI in July 2011 for accepting funds from ISI and Pakistan Government, but failed to report the origin of those funds, as required by US law. It is established that, accused Gautam Navlakha had written a letter to the Hon’ble Judge of the US court trying Ghulam Fai’s case for clemency. Accused Gautam Navlakha has also submitted letters to Hon’ble US court on behalf of Fai.”

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—comprising mostly soldiers from Dalit community—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. According to the police, arrested ‘activists’ claiming that the event was organised as a part of alleged Maoist activity and the accused were members of the proscribed group.

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