The five activists, accused of having Maoist links, were arrested on August 28 following multi-state raids by Pune Police.

Bhima-Koregaon Case: Police Seek More Time to Chargesheet Activists
(From left): Activists Gautam Navalakha,Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj and Vernon Gonzalves.
Pune: Pune Police on Friday moved a court here seeking another 90 days to file a supplementary charge sheet against Left-wing activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Varavara Rao in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case.

A charge sheet has already been filed in the case against activists Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale (who were arrested in June) and five ‘underground’ Maoist leaders.

The police filed an application before District Judge Kishor Vadane on Friday, seeking extension of 90 days to file a supplementary charge sheet against Bharadwaj and others under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). They needed time as investigation is still going on, the police said.

Bharadwaj, Rao, Ferreira, Gonsalves and Gautam Navlakha, accused of having Maoist links, were arrested on August 28 following multi-state raids by Pune Police. However, on the directions of the Supreme Court, all five were put under house arrest in their respective cities.

Later, as the period of house arrest got over and the apex court refused to grant further relief to the accused, police arrested all of them except Gautam Navlakha. Under the law, a charge sheet has to be filed within 90 days of arrest. But under the UAPA, an extension of 90 days can be obtained from the court.

This came a day after the Bombay High Court restrained the police from arresting activists Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde and Stan Swamy till December 14. While Navlakha had also been arrested in August in connection with the case, the homes and offices of Teltumbde and Swamy had been searched.

On September 28, the Supreme Court extended by a month the house arrest of the five activists arrested in August. After the extension period expired, the Pune sessions court sent Ferreira and Gonsalves to police custody till November 6 and arrested Bharadwaj from her home in Haryana’s Faridabad. Five other activists – Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale – were arrested in June as part of the same investigation. The 10 are accused of masterminding the violence in Bhima Koregaon as well as of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Assistant Commissioner of Police Shivaji Pawar, the investigating officer, said the court will hear the matter on November 26. According to police, Maoists had backed the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31 last year. The provocative speeches made at the gathering allegedly led to violence at Koregaon Bhima in Pune district the next day.

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