Bhima Koregaon case: SC asks Maharashtra govt to produce chargesheet against five HR activists by Dec 8


The Supreme Court of India Monday asked the Maharashtra government to produce the chargesheet filed against five human rights activists arrested in August over alleged Maoist links reportedly connected to the Bhima Koregaon violence.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph said it would go through the charges against Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson.

On Monday, the bench asked state government counsel, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, to produce the chargesheet by December 8.

The bench was hearing an appeal filed by the state government, challenging a Bombay High Court order which had set aside a Pune trial court’s decision allowing the police time beyond the stipulated 90 days to file the chargesheet against the accused, who were charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The Pune court had granted police 90 more days to file its chargesheet against the five, but the accused challenged this, saying the application seeking more time was filed by the investigating officer and not the public prosecutor as mandated by law.

The Maharashtra government had approached the top court on October 25 challenging the Bombay High Court order. On October 29, the Supreme Court stayed the HC order.

Meanwhile, Advocate Surendra Gadling and poet P Varavara Rao have been named as accused in the 2016 Surjagad attack case. They have been lodged in Yerawada jail in Pune in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence and will likely be questioned by the Gadchiroli police.

DCP Suhas Bavche confirmed that probe into the case revealed that Gadling and Rao played a role in burning of 80 vehicles, owned by a private company around Surjagad mines.

According to the police, at least 500 rebels of the banned CPI-Maoist were behind the attack. Letters and communications recovered from the suspects during searches conducted by the Pune city police in the case revealed the alleged involvement of Rao and Gadling in Surjagad attack.

The SC has ordered police to submit case details on December 8.


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