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Elgar case: Prosecution, defence seek time to respond to NIA's plea

Pune: The prosecution and the defence on Monday sought more time from a court here in Maharashtra to file their response on the National Investigation Agency's application seeking transfer of the Elgar Parishad case to a special NIA court in Mumbai.

After hearing both the sides, Additional Sessions Judge S R Navandar kept the matter for hearing on February 6.

Special public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar said she has no instructions from the investigation machinery, and sought more time to file the prosecution's response.

Lawyers representing the accused also sought more time to file their say, citing that they have not yet received any notice about the application filed by the NIA.

The National Investigation Agency last week filed an application before a Pune court hearing the Elgar Parishad case, seeking transfer of seized data, court records and proceedings of the case to the special NIA court in Mumbai.

The Centre last month transferred the probe into the Elgar Parishad case from Pune Police to the NIA, a decision which the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra criticised strongly.

The Pune Police told the NIA last week that case records will be handed over only after the state Director General of Police issues necessary orders.

The case is related to speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwarwada here on December 31, 2017, and the next day's violence near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial in the district. Pune Police claimed that the conclave was backed by Maoists, and the speeches made there triggered the violence.

During the probe, the police arrested activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao for alleged Maoist links.

The Pune Police have already filed two charge-sheets in the case.

However, the new government in Maharashtra had taken steps to review the police probe. The Congress and NCP had hit out at the Centre for handing over the case to the NIA, claiming it was done as the BJP feared the earlier government's wrongful actions would get "exposed".

NCP chief Sharad Pawar had last month demanded a Special Investigation Team to probe the action taken by Pune Police against the rights activists in the case.

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