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Bhima Koregaon case: NIA submits 17 charges against 22 accused

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday filed its charge-sheet against 22 persons, accused of inciting violence during the Bhima Koregaon event in 2018, including waging war against the country, but did not mention the accused either planned, or even had any links to the controversy related to “assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi”.

Those made accused in NIA’s charge sheet include father Stan Swamy, who died in July this year, Jyoti Raghoba Jagtap, Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe, Ramesh Murlidhar Gaichor, Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha and Hany Babu. Besides, six people were absconding.

The NIA charge sheet included 17 draft charges against 22 people, accused of threatening India’s sovereignty, integrity and security by conspiring against “government or civil authorities/public functionaries, besides including the charge of waging a war against the country, which is punishable with death.

The draft charges did not mention a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as claimed in 2018 by the Pune police, but mention “cause the death of a public functionary”.

The agency said the accused were members of the banned CPI(Maoist) and its front organisations whose main objective is to establish “Janta Sarkar” or ‘people’s Government’ via revolution supported by a commitment to protracted armed struggle to undermine and to seize power from the state.

It said the accused “abetted and assisted” unlawful activities to threaten the unity of the country strike terror in the people, using explosive substances, transporting sophisticated weapons like Chinese QLZ 87 Automatic Grenade Launcher and Russian GM-94 Grenade Launcher… likely to cause death or injuries to any person and was an attempt to do or cause the death of public functionary.

Students of various universities, including Delhi’s JNU as well as Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) were recruited to carry out terror activities, it added.

The NIA said the accused conspired to demand and organise Rs eight crore for the weapons, the draft charges add. NIA alleged that pursuant to the conspiracy, the Elgar Parishad event was organised by Kabir Kala Manch a ‘front’ organisation of CPI(M) on December 31, 2017, in Pune, that led to the caste violence at Bhima Koregaon the following day that resulted in death of one person.

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They were charged under Sections 121 (waging war against the country), 121-A(overawe the government by means of criminal force), 124-A( sedition), 153-A (promote hate and enmity between two communities), 120B (conspiracy), 505(1)(B) (Acts prejudicial to harmony). They have also been alleged to have committed offences under Sections 10,13,16,18,18-B, 20,38,39,40 UAPA Act.

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