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This article was first published 1 year ago  » News » NIA Court Finds 'ISI link' to Activist Navlakha, Denies Bail

NIA Court Finds 'ISI link' to Activist Navlakha, Denies Bail

Source: PTI
Last updated on: April 13, 2023 20:28 IST
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Prima facie there was a nexus between human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, and Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai, an agent of Pakistan's spy agency ISI convicted in the United States for terror funding, a special NIA court has said in its order denying bail to the campaigner.

Last month, the Bombay high court had quashed an earlier order passed by the special judge and directed him to re-hear Navlakha's bail plea. The high court had said the special court's order did not contain an analysis of the evidence relied upon by the prosecution.

Special Judge Rajesh Katariya, presiding over the National Investigation Agency court, after hearing the submissions afresh, denied bail to the 69-year-old activist on April 6. A detailed order was made available on Thursday.

Navlakha was arrested in August 2018 and initially placed under house arrest. He was moved to the Taloja Central Prison in Navi Mumbai in April 2020 after a Supreme Court order.

On November 10 last year, the Supreme Court allowed his plea to be shifted back to house arrest for a month. He is currently residing in the satellite city of Navi Mumbai.

The NIA has claimed the human rights activist was an active member of the Communist Party of India-Maoist, a banned outfit.


The anti-terror agency, in its chargesheet, has alleged the applicant (Navlakha) had visited the USA three times to address conferences organised by the Kashmiri American Council (KAC), which is headed by Fai.

The activist was in touch with US-based Kashmiri separatist Fai via e-mail and sometimes through phone, the NIA alleged.

Fai was arrested by America's Federal Bureau of Investigation in July 2011 for accepting funds from the Inter-Services Intelligence and the Pakistan government.

Navlakha had written a letter to the US court judge presiding over Fai's case for clemency, the NIA alleged.

The NIA further claimed Navlakha was introduced to a Pakistani ISI general for his recruitment by Fai on directions of the ISI, showing his nexus and complicity with the Kashmiri separatist and the spy agency of the neighbouring country.

The NIA court, in its order, noted that the prosecution had produced a copy of the document titled 'SUPPLEMENTAL POSITION OF THE UNITED STATES WITH RESPECT TO SENTENCING FACTORS' pertaining to a case -- United States of America versus Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai.

'It (the document) prima facie shows a nexus between applicant (Navlakha) and Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai,' the speciaL court observed.

Though there appears to be some deviating conduct on part of the applicant as pointed out by his lawyer from the report on Navlakha and other documents, the same cannot grant any benefit to the applicant for bail, the court observed.

The special judge stated that the supplementary chargesheet and documents relied on by the prosecution 'prima facie shows that the applicant is an active member of the said banned terrorist organisation (CPI-Maoist) and he carries out activities in furtherance of the object of said organisation.'

The special court noted that documents produced along with the chargesheet 'show active involvement of the applicant (Navlakha) in crime and participation in conspiracy and also that he underwent weapons training with other accused.'

'Considering the totality of material, role of the applicant cannot be segregated from role of the co-accused and there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation against the applicant are prima facie true,' it said.

Among other grounds for bail, Navlakha had cited his old age, various ailments and also pointed out that he has been in jail since the last three years.

However, the special judge, in his order, said in view of the seriousness of allegations made against Navlakha, 'collective interest of community would overweigh in the case and the grounds put forth would not go in the favour of the applicant.'

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

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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