3 activists sent to 14-day police custody
Pune: A special court in Pune on Saturday remanded activists Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Sudha Bhardwaj to police custody till November 6.
The prosecution told the court that the ‘urban Naxals’ were actively involved in the recruitment of youngsters to carry out Naxal activities. Special public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar told the court that they were part of a larger conspiracy to threaten the sovereignty and integrity of the country. She requested the court to grant 14-day police custody of the accused.
Ferreira, Gonsalves and Bhardwaj were produced before District and Sessions Judge KD Vadane. review petition filed by Romila Thapar and others. Bhardwaj was produced before the Pune court.
Her lawyer Rahul Deshmukh told the court that she is facing health issues and should be provided certain facilities inside the police lock-up. “She must be provided with conditions of incarceration, bathing and toilet facilities which are on par with those that have been promised to Vijay Mallya by the state and central government,” Deshmukh said.
Pawar stated that the police has seized incriminating documents from all the accused.
“The material seized from these accused reveals that they were actively involved in recruiting professionals from institutes like TISS and JNU,” Pawar said.
She added that the accused had sent these new recruits to interior parts to carry out Maoist activities. The prosecution claimed that the call data records of the accused confirmed that they were constantly in touch with some of the central committee members of the banned organisation of CPI (Maoists). “The seized material reveals that they were not only in touch with the top Maoist leaders, but they were also managing their funds,” Pawar said.
The prosecution demanded police custody of the accused to carry out investigations. “The investigating team needs to investigate where the funds were utilised by the accused which they had received from Naxal operatives,” Pawar said.
However, Deshmukh argued that the police had already seized the documents from the accused and there was no need for police custody. “In the remand report, the cops have not mentioned that they need to recover anything from the accused. The seized documents are in the custody of the police for nearly two months, hence police custody is not required,” Deshmukh said.
Another defence lawyer Siddharth Patil, representing Ferreira argued that the SC had ordered house arrest of the accused till October 26, but the police took them in custody before that which is contempt of the court.
After hearing both sides, Vadane granted police custody of the accused till November 6.
The defence lawyers told the mediapersons that they would challenge the order in the Bombay High Court.