Assam MLA Akhil Gogoi is the kingpin of Maoist activities in the state, the National Investigation Agency alleged before the Supreme Court on Monday, PTI reported.

The court was hearing a petition by the Sibsagar MLA against an order of the Gauhati High Court passed on February 9. The High Court had allowed an NIA court to frame charges against Gogoi and his three associates under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for holding protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in December 2019.

Subsequently, the NIA court on February 24 reopened the UAPA case against the legislator and his associates.

A Supreme Court bench comprising Justices V Ramasubramanian and Pankaj Mithal was on Monday dealing with the question of whether protection from arrest granted to the MLA should continue.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the NIA, alleged that Gogoi was the head of a network of Maoist sympathisers and supporters, Live Law reported.

“Elected representatives cannot simultaneously be terrorists,” the solicitor general said. “Gogoi was associated with the proscribed organisation Communist Party of India (Maoist). He sent [his organisation] Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti cadres to train in Maoist camps, orchestrated widespread blockades in Assam, virtually paralysing the government machinery, and even provoked angry mobs to cause damage to public property.”

Mehta told the court that several witnesses had testified that Gogoi carried out recruitment for Maoist training camps. He added that 64 cases have been filed against the Independent MLA.

Gogoi’s lawyer Huzefa Ahmadi claimed that the legislator was being targeted due to political vendetta as he was “opposed to a particular political dispensation”.

The Supreme Court has posted the case for further hearing on March 24.

The case against Gogoi

The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, 2019, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the condition that they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. It has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims. The Act sparked huge protests across the country.

On December 12, 2019, Gogoi was placed under preventive custody following his protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. The National Investigation Agency had said that Gogoi was booked for “waging a war against the nation”, conspiracy and rioting.

He was booked under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different communities), and 153B (making imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. He was also booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

On July 1, 2021, Gogoi was released from jail after one-and-a-half years after a special court said that his speeches did not amount to any incitement to violence.