Activist Shoma Sen seeks discharge in Elgar Parishad case

The court will hear the matter on February 14.

Mumbai: Activist-academician Shoma Sen, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, on Tuesday moved an application before a special court here seeking discharge in the matter on the ground she has been falsely arrested and implicated for “exposing illegal arrests, torture and deaths of those defending their fundamental rights”.

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She moved the plea, through advocate Sharif Shaikh, before judge Rajesh Katariya, presiding over the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court.

The court will hear the matter on February 14.

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Sen, an English literature professor and Dalit and women’s rights activist, was arrested on June 6, 2018. She is currently in jail under judicial custody.

“Applicant (Sen) has been falsely arrested and her implication in the present offence is with mala fide and prejudiced intent merely because she has been a consistent defender of human rights and civil liberties which, many a time, have exposed illegal arrests, torture and deaths of those defending their fundamental rights,” her plea said.

The NIA, which is investigating the case, has claimed incriminating material against the accused was found in the computer of a co-accused.

However, the activist, in her plea, said letters and communications allegedly containing incriminating material against the accused persons in the case were neither in her possession, nor addressed to her, or by her.

Hence, to infer that these communications are authored by or addressed to some of the accused is “merely a baseless and prejudiced claim” that cannot be used as a ground to frame charges against her as this evidence would be deemed to be based on hearsay, said the application.

There is no proof that the name “Shoma” in any of the so-called electronic letters/ communications refers to the applicant, the plea said.

There are simply no indications that the so-called electronic letters/communications were authored by or addressed to any member of the proscribed Communist Party of India (Maoist), it said.

The academician further claimed there is a selective and prejudicial targeting of the applicant and other accused.

Sen also sought discharge on the ground she has a host of health-related issues and is under medication for acute ailments such as glaucoma, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome and advanced arthritis, among others.

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave held at Shaniwarwada in Pune city on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the city’s outskirts.

The Pune police, which initially probed the case, had claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists.

Later, the probe in the case, in which more than a dozen activists and academicians have been named as accused, was transferred to the NIA.

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