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Elgar case: Pune police search DU professor Hany Babu's residence

Last updated on: September 10, 2019 20:50 IST

The Pune Police on Tuesday conducted searches at the residence of Delhi University professor Hany Babu in Uttar Pradesh's Noida city in connection with its probe into the 2017 Elgaar Parishad case for alleged Maoist links, according to officials.

IMAGE: Delhi University professor Hany Babu. Photograph: Courtesy @hany_babu/Twitter

Pune assistant commissioner of police Shivaji Pawar said no arrest was made during the search operation at 45-year-old Babu's house in Sector 78 of Noida, adjoining the national capital.

"We have conducted a search operation at Babu's residence in Noida in connection with the Elgaar Parishad case registered at the Vishrambaug police station in Pune," Pawar said, adding that police have recovered some electronic devices.

Babu, who teaches English at the Delhi University, was booked under Indian Penal Code sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 121 and 121A (waging or attempting to wage war against government), 124A (sedition), among others.

The Noida Police also confirmed that only search and seizure operation was conducted at his residence.

 

"Video recording of whole proceedings was done, reasons for search were explained to him in English, a copy of seizure panchnama was given with his due acknowledgement," Noida senior superintendent of police Vaibhav Krishna said.

The Pune Police team comprised a senior crime branch officer and cyber experts besides Pawar, the investigation officer in the case, while the Noida Police provided logistical support, he added.

The details of seizure were not available immediately.

The Elgaar conclave was held at historic Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, ahead of the 200th anniversary of the battle of Koregaon Bhima.

According to police, speeches made at the conclave aggravated the caste violence around Koregaon Bhima village in the district on January 1, 2018, in which one person was killed and several others were injured.

Police have so far arrested nine people in the case.

Police did not have warrant to search house: Hany Babu

Delhi University Professor Hany Babu alleged that police did not have a search warrant and they seized the phones of his daughter and wife, not allowing them to communicate with friends.

Babu, who has been teaching at DU's English department for close to a decade, said the police took away laptops which contain his research.

Babu was booked under Indian Penal Code sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 121 and 121A (waging or attempting to wage war against government), 124A (sedition), among others.

"At 6.30 am, 20 people knocked at my door, claiming that they belonged to the Pune Crime Branch. Five of them were in uniform, the rest were in civil clothes.

"I was told that they wanted to conduct a search of my residence. When I asked for a search warrant, I was told there was none and that this case doesn't need one," he posted on the microblogging site.

Babu said he requested them to show some form of identification and an officer with the name Shivaji Pawar showed him his ID.

"After this, the officers entered my residence and looked through every room of my apartment. The search went on for six hours, at the end of which they said they will be seizing my laptop, my hard disks, my pen drives and books. They made me change the passwords of my social media accounts and my email accounts," he said.

The professor claimed that they had complete access to his accounts "through the changed passwords and I no longer have access to these accounts".

"I would like to state that as a teacher, my work is heavily dependent on what I have saved in my laptops and my external hard disks. It also contains the research work that l've been pursuing for years. This work is not something which can be duplicated in days," he said.

These are years of his hard work, he said, adding he could not "understand how a government agency can seize my work without providing me the reasons for it, or the basis on which a search was conducted at my residence".

"They did not have a search warrant with them and they did not explain further as to why they don't possess the same. While the search was ongoing, they also seized the phones of my wife and my daughter, barring us from communicating with our friends," he said.

In the morning, his wife, Jenny Rowena, who teaches at DU's Miranda House also posted about the raid on Twitter.

"Today Pune police entered our house at 6.30 in the morning. They said that @hanybabu (my husband) is involved in the Bhima Koregaon case and that for this, they could search the house without a search warrant. They searched for 6 hours, took 3 books, laptop, phone, hard disks," she wrote.

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