Elgar Parishad case: SC tells NIA court to decide on framing charges within three months
The bench also directed the trial court to decide on petitions by the accused seeking to be discharged from the case.
The Supreme Court on Friday told a National Investigation Agency court to decide on framing charges against the accused persons in the Elgar Parishad case within three months, The Times of India reported.
The Elgar Parishad event took place in Pune on December 31, 2017, a day before violent clashes broke out between Maratha and Dalit groups near the village of Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra. As many as 16 people were arrested for allegedly plotting the violence.
While Dalit groups and individuals have accused Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide of instigating the violence through hate speeches before the incident, the focus of the National Investigation Agency has been on the Elgar Parishad event being part of a larger Maoist conspiracy to stoke caste violence, destabilise the Central government and assassinate the prime minister.
The Centre transferred the case to the National Investigation Agency in January 2020.
A bench of Justices UU Lalit and S Ravindra Bhat on Friday directed the National Investigation Agency court to decide on petitions by the accused seeking to be discharged from the case.
The court said that the trial against the accused persons was not progressing and that they have been languishing in jail for the past four years.
Out of the 16 arrested persons, Jesuit priest Stan Swamy died at a hospital in Mumbai while in custody. Two other accused persons, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao are currently out on bail.
The other accused persons are Vernon Gonsalves, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Hany Babu, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap.
On Friday, the agency told the court that four accused persons were yet to be arrested in the case. The bench asked it to declare the four as proclaimed offenders, and file an application before the trial court to segregate the cases of the 15 accused persons who had been arrested in the case from those who are still free.
The Supreme Court passed the order while hearing the bail petition of Vernon Gonsalves, one of the accused persons in the case.