Mumbai: Prima-facie applicant’s activities aimed to overthrow democracy, says court while rejecting Stan Swamy’s bail application

In a 33-page order rejecting the bail application of 83-year-old tribal rights activist Stan Swamy on Monday, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Mumbai has said from the material placed on record prima facie denotes that Swamy carried out activities in furtherance of objective of CPI (Maoist), which is nothing but to overthrow the democracy of the nation.

Special judge Dinesh E Kothalikar said in his order that prima facie it can be gathered that Swamy along with members of CPI (Maoist) “hatched a serious conspiracy to create unrest in the entire country and to overpower the government, politically and by using muscle power.”

The record further discloses, said the court, that there is exchange of around 140 emails between the applicant and co-accused, which goes to suggest that he was in touch with co-accused and can be said to be an additional link to connect him with them.

The court also referred to incriminating letters seized in Stan Swamy’s house search and said that it can be prima facie gathered that there was “deep-rooted conspiracy of extremely serious repercussions”.

The material the court relied on was from the hard disk seized from him in June 2019 which contained 40 documents and 140 emails exchanged with Swamy found in computers of co-accused.

Swamy’s advocate Sharif Shaikh had argued that the practice of taking hash values of electronic records was not followed by the investigation officer, making them open to fabrication. He had also told the court that the typed letters suffer many legal shortcomings and that the prosecution cannot connect them with the accused based on short names or alphabets used to denote sender and receiver. Regarding the inadmissibility of evidence, the court said relying on an apex court ruling that it will have to be decided at trial.

Shaikh had argued that mere possession of material cannot be said to be material against Swamy. The court said regarding this that certain material collected by the NIA shows that Swamy was an active member of the banned organization.

To establish Swamy’s involvement the NIA had relied on a witness statement in which the witness stated that Swamy and others had delivered speeches on arrest of human rights activists in Bhima Koregaon case. The court said that Swamy had shared dias and given speech which goes on to suggest that he was actively involved in the release of accused persons involved in Maoist cases.

The court also said it “speaks volumes” that a press release of 2017 by Swamy, Sudha Bharadwaj, Partho Sarothi Ray and others has condemned the decision of the Gadchiroli sessions court convicting GN Saibaba.

It also said that if seriousness of allegations against Swamy are considered in proper perspective, in that case there would be no hesitation to conclude that the collective interest of the community would outweigh his right of personal liberty and old age or alleged sickness.

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