Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency that took over the Elgar Parishad case to probe into the Naxal elements in the case told the Bombay High Court that the challenge the accused Surendra Gadling and Sudhir Dhawale have raised against the transfer of the case to the NIA is an attempt to thwart the investigation.
Responding to petitioners challenge in the High Court through an affidavit, the NIA said that much destruction has already been done in the country due to the Naxal plague. Appearing for Gadling and Dhawale, advocate Satish B Talekar told the court that said the Centre and Maharashtra government were yet to file their responses.
However, the lawyer appeared for the NIA declined to have known about the affidavit filed on behalf of the NIA, and said the previous advocate might have filed it and sought a week's time to clear the doubt.
In the Pune Police filed criminal conspiracy linked to the banned CPI (Maoist) against the Elgar Parishad, Gadling and Dhawale were accused among others. The case was transferred to the NIA on January 24, 2020.
The NIA affidavit told that the nature of offences under which the case has been registered against the accused can be taken over by the Central agencies from the state investigators at any time. The offence weighed the nature of affecting the national security with the interstate implications prompting the Centre to direct the NIA to take up the probe, the affidavit said.
Gadling and Dhawale defended the challenge against the transfer of the case to the NIA citing no valid reasons to transfer the case that was registered two years ago. They also said that no provisions in the law empower the Centre to transfer the probe after it had been completed and the trial was set to commence.
Both the accused alleged 'malafide and political expediency' behind the transfer of the case.
The petition, which also named former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, claimed that Ekbote and Bhide received "state shelter" despite being named in FIRs linked to the assault on Dalits visiting the Bhima Koregaon memorial on January 1, 2018.