NIA says death certificate not filed

By Bhavna Uchil

The activist wants few days with family after his mother’s demise

A file photo of Surendra Gadling

A file photo of Surendra GadlingPTI

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has objected to granting temporary bail to human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case stating among other grounds, that his mother’s death certificate has not been filed.

Gadling’s mother passed away mid-last month in a Nagpur government hospital due to COVID-19. Thereafter, Gadling, who is lodged in Taloja prison, through advocate R. Sathyanarayan sought temporary bail to attend a memorial function scheduled on 22 September.

In its reply filed last Friday objecting to the bail plea, the agency has, among other grounds, said that his mother’s death certificate has not been filed.

The certificate could not be filed as the family could not secure it due to the lockdown situation. Last Friday, Gadling’s advocates told the court that they were prepared to file the death certificate as the family had managed to secure it by then.

Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Shetty confirmed that the lack of a death certificate being filed was mentioned in its reply objecting to the bail application.

Advocate Nilhalsing Rathod, who has also represented Gadling, said that his family is in trauma as the death was unexpected. He called the NIA’s raising such an objection ‘childish’.

Gadling, a human rights lawyer, who has represented DU Professor GN Saibaba presently serving life term in a Nagpur jail for Maoist links, was arrested from Nagpur in the first round of arrests in the case on 6 June, 2018. On the same day his now co-accused professor Shoma Sen, activists Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale and Rona Wilson too had been arrested. The Pune Police which was investigating the case before it was transferred to the NIA, had stated in their chargesheet that he had Maoist links and the campaigning for Elgaar Parishad and the speeches delivered at the conclave had aggravated the Bhima-Koregaon violence. By now, a total 12 academics and civil liberties activists are in prison in the case.