Elgaar Parishad case transferred to special NIA court in Mumbai

A special court dealing with offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) on Friday transferred all records and materials of the Elgaar Parishad case to the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Mumbai.

All accused will be produced before the NIA court in Mumbai on February 28.

Prior to Additional Sessions Judge (special) S.R. Navandar passing the order, the Pune Police submitted that they had no objection to the NIA’s plea seeking transfer of the case materials.

Earlier, Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar, representing the Pune Police, had argued against the case being transferred to the NIA court in Mumbai saying it was “legally untenable”.

The Pune court’s order comes as a fait accompli after the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government had agreed to transfer the case to the NIA despite protesting the Centre’s decision.

The Centre’s decision to abruptly transfer the case to the NIA last month had come in the wake of reports that MVA government was mulling formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the investigation conducted by the Pune police into the Elgaar Parishad case.

The SIT had been mooted by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, who had questioned the Pune police’s investigation and the arrest of eminent activists and lawyers.

A tug-of-war had ensued in recent days between the State and the Centre over transfer of the Elgaar case materials to the NIA team.

While the Pune city police had zealously prosecuted the Elgaar Parishad case and arrested noted intellectuals and activists when the Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government was in power in the State, it seemed to be procrastinating in handing the case records to the NIA, given Maharashtra Home Minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh’s reluctance to turn over the probe to the central agency.

Mr. Deshmukh had expressed his dissatisfaction at Mr. Thackeray using his discretionary powers to consent to the transfer of the case.

“I have always maintained that the Centre had not taken the State government into confidence before abruptly announcing that the case be turned over to the NIA. However, it is the Chief Minister’s prerogative to take a call on this case [on whether to hand it over to the NIA or not],” Mr. Deshmukh had said in Mumbai.

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