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ED To Investigate Bhima Koregaon Accused For Money Laundering, Seeks Permission To Record Surendra Gadling's Statement

Sharmeen Hakim
30 July 2022 4:49 AM GMT
ED To Investigate Bhima Koregaon Accused For Money Laundering, Seeks Permission To Record Surendra Gadlings Statement
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Over four and a half years after the Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parishad caste violence incident, the Enforcement Directorate is pursuing money laundering proceedings against certain civil liberties activists accused in the case. The ED has approached the Special Court in Mumbai seeking permission to record accused Advocate Surendra Gadling's statement under section 50(2) of the...

Over four and a half years after the Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parishad caste violence incident, the Enforcement Directorate is pursuing money laundering proceedings against certain civil liberties activists accused in the case.

The ED has approached the Special Court in Mumbai seeking permission to record accused Advocate Surendra Gadling's statement under section 50(2) of the PMLA Act regarding an ECIR registered last year.

Gadling is a Nagpur based lawyer who was arrested in 2018 and is presently incarcerated in Taloja prison.

The agency claims that Gadling is a "prime suspect" and an active member of the CPI (Maoist). They claim he was involved in fund raising for the banned terror outfit and for disbursement of those funds. "He was involved in the Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parishad procession dated December 31, 2017," ED's application reads.

It is the ED's case that the activists have been booked for scheduled offences under Prevention of Money Laundering Act, within the agency's purview of investigation.

The NIA booked sixteen activists for offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and accused them of furthering the banned CPI (Maoist)'s agenda to overthrow the government.

The NIA claims that the Elgar Parishad event organised on December 31, 2017 by front organisations of CPI(Maoist) was responsible for the caste violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018 in which one person died and several others were injured.

The case is primarily based on electronic evidence recovered from Gadling and co-accused researcher Rona Wilson's laptop. However, the arrested activists claim that incriminating material was planted on laptop, based on several independent forensic analysis reports.

Gadling faces charges under sections 121, 121A, 124A, 153A, 505(1)(b), 117, 120b r/w 34 of the IPC and sections 13,16,17,18,18-B,20,38,39 and 40 of the UAPA along with 15 other activists. Father Stan Swamy, the 16th accused to be arrested, passed away on July 5.

The application filed by ED's assistant director Praduman Sharma sought permission to interrogate and record Gadling's statement inside Taloja Central Prison. It further sought permission for the officers to carry laptops inside prison.

Special Judge Rajesh Katariya sought for a formal summons to be issued to Gadling under PMLA, along with the NIA's response.

Last year, the Bombay High Court granted Gadling nine days of interim bail to complete his mother's funeral rights, nearly a year after her demise. Since then, Gadling's default bail applications have been rejected by both – the Sessions court as well as the High Court.

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