Activist Gautam Navlakha, Arrested in Elgar Parishad Case, Met ISI Agents in US: NIA
File photo of human rights activist Gautam Navlakha.
Activist Gautam Navlakha, arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case, had met Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents through a common friend in the United States.
The NIA has filed its first chargesheet in the special NIA court in Mumbai on Friday against eight people. Besides Navlakha, NIA named Hany Babu, Stan Swamy, Anand Teltumbde, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap and Milind Teltumbde under several sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Prevention Activities Act.
The 10,000-page chargesheet has details of each of the accused on how they planned violence on the basis of caste. An NIA source in Delhi related to the probe told IANS, "Navlakha during one of his visits to the United States met the ISI agents through a common friend." The source said that he was approached by the ISI agents in US seeking help from Navlakha to find them suitable spies in India. The source, however, did not reveal any further details when enquired about the year in which he travelled to the US and for how many times he communicated with the ISI agents.
The NIA source also remained tightlipped on whether Navlakha met ISI agents later.
The NIA in its chargesheet has claimed that Navlakha was in touch with the ISI and was assigned the task to unite intellectuals against the government.
The NIA chargesheet also claimed that during probe Navlakha's name also came up in the secret communications with CPI (Maoist) cadres. "Navlakha was assigned the task to unite intellectuals against the government. He was part of some fact-finding committees and was assigned the task to recruit cadres for guerrilla activities of CPI (Maoist)," the NIA claimed in its chargesheet.
Besides Navlakha, the NIA claimed that Teltumbde, who normally resides in Goa, was one of the conveners of 'Bhima Koregaon Shaurya Din Prerna Abhiyan' and was present at Shaniwar Wada, Pune on December 31, 2017 where Elgar Parishad Programme was organised.
"Teltumbde played an active role with other Maoist cadres and received funds from them for carrying out the activities. Incriminating documents revealing his deep involvement with CPI (Maoist) activities also came to the fore," the agency said in its chargesheet. The NIA registered a case on January 24 this year and arrested Navlakha in April this year. The case pertains to inciting people and giving provocative speeches during the Elgar Parishad organised by the activists of Kabir Kala Manch at Shaniwarwada in Maharashtra's Pune on December 31, 2017, which promoted enmity between various caste groups and led to violence resulting in loss of life and property and state-wide agitation in Maharashtra.
During investigation, it was revealed that senior leaders of CPI (Maoist), an organisation banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, were in contact with the organisers of Elgar Parishad as well as the accused arrested in the case to spread the ideology of Maoism and encourage unlawful activities. The Pune Police had filed a chargesheet and a supplementary chargesheet in this case on November 15, 2018 and February 21, 2019, respectively.