The NIA, in its draft charges submitted before a special court in Mumbai in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case has claimed the accused wanted to establish their own government and “wage a war against the nation”.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) submitted the draft earlier this month and a copy of it was made available on Monday.
The draft lays down 17 charges against 15 accused, including human rights and civil liberties activists, and they have been sought to be charged under various sections of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The NIA has alleged that the accused were active members of the banned terror outfit CPI (Maoist).
The arrested accused in the case include activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Hany Babu, Anand Teltumbde, Shoma Sen, Gautam Navlakha and others.
As per the draft charges, the main objective of the accused was to establish a “Janta Sarkar (people’s government) through revolution and armed struggle to seize power from the state”.
The draft also claimed that the accused attempted to “wage war against the governments of India and Maharashtra”.
Framing of charges is the first step before trial commences in the case where the prosecution describes the charges against the accused along with the evidence to be relied upon.
After the framing of charges, the court will ask the accused whether they plead guilty or not in the case.
The draft further claimed the accused had been playing provocative songs, enacting short plays and skits in Pune during the Elgar Parishad meeting and distributing Maoist literature.
“That the criminal conspiracy was an intention to bring about secession of a part of territory of India and incite individuals to bring about such a secession,” it said.
It further alleged that the accused had an intent to strike terror in the minds of people by using explosive substances.
“That accused recruited students from various universities including the Jawaharlal Nehru University and Tata Institute of Social Science for commission of terrorist activity,” it claimed.
The accused have been charged under Indian Penal Code Sections 120-B (conspiracy), 115 (abetment of offence), 121, 121-A (waging war against state), 124-A (sedition), 153-A (arms in procession), 505(1)(B) (statements promoting mischief) and 34 (common intention).
They have also been charged under UAPA Sections 13, 16, 17, 18, 18A, 18B, 20 (punishment for terrorist activities), 38, 39 and 40 (punishment for being part of terrorist organisation).
The Elgar Parishad case is related to inflammatory speeches made at a conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which, the police claimed, triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.
The prosecution claimed the conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links.