Mumbai: National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed an affidavit before the Bombay High Court claiming that human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling and other accused in the Elgar Parishad case have filed several petitions to derail the investigation and that the sole intention of the investigating agency is to protect the sovereign India from terrorism, including Naxalism which has plagued the country.

An affidavit was filed by Vikram Khalate, Superintendent of Police, National Investigation Agency (NIA) in reply to petition filed by Gadling challenging transfer of the investigation in Elgar Parishad case from Pune police to NIA.

During the hearing before the Bombay high court on Tuesday, Gadling’s advocate SB Talekar informed a division bench of justices S Shinde and N Jamdar that the State government and the Union government have failed to file reply whereas the NIA has filed its affidavit.

To this, counsel for NIA, Sandesh Patil, said that he was not aware of the affidavit and needed time to go through it. “It seems an affidavit has been filed. Give us one week’s time to put our house in order”, said Patil.

Opposing Gadling’s petition, the NIA affidavit claims that he is trying the scandalise and question the agency’s credibility which is fighting for the prevention of unlawful and terrorist activities in the country in which the Naxal plague has caused destructions at many levels. Also, Gadling is an accused and as such cannot “be aggrieved” by the decision to hand over investigation to the NIA, read the affidavit.

The affidavit further claims that the case against all the accused is based on incriminatory evidence and as such there is no personal agenda of the investigating agency. The NIA affidavit also alleges that not just Gadling, but even other accused in the case have filed various petitions to derail the investigation.

Seeking dismissal of the petition, NIA affidavit states that the accused can put forth his evidence before the trial court instead of directly coming to the HC.

“Besides the purpose of federalising some crimes by the Central government is not to usurp, but only to usefully supplement and add value to the law enforcement duties with local limitations”, stated the NIA affidavit.

Justifying taking over of the case, NIA affidavit states that the NIA Act was enacted to strike at the root of those offenders who threaten, undermine attack India as a nation. “… this Act unifies the nation, as the threat of terrorism is to the nation (and) not to any particular state,” added the affidavit.

Gadling has alleged that the transfer of the probe was done by the Central government after BJP lost power in Maharashtra and was hence “politically motivated”.

The case, in which several other human rights activists have been arrested and accused of having Maoist links, was transferred from the Pune police to NIA on January 24 this year.

The activists have been accused of having Maoist links and booked under the stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and other provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

According to prosecution, inflammatory speeches and provocative statements made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017 had triggered caste violence at Koregaon Bhima the next day. The police alleged that the conclave was backed by Maoists.

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