AG Anil Singh told the bench that the NIA’s reply was “almost ready” and sought an additional two weeks’ time to submit it in the court
Mumbai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday sought two weeks’ time to reply to the petitions filed by jailed activists Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha seeking cloned copies of the electronic devices seized from them by investigators. The NIA told the Bombay High Court that it will not press the special court to proceed with the framing of charges in the case till the next hearing on pending petitions.
Bharadwaj and Navlakha, both accused in the Elgar Parishad case, had approached the High Court last month seeking such copies. While hearing the petitions the HC on August 20, had directed the NIA to file its reply over it and had posted the matter on September 3.
On Friday when the matter came up for hearing before a division bench of Justice S.S. Shinde and Justice N.J. Jamadar, the Additional Solicitor General (AG) Anil Singh sought more time to comply with the court order. He told the bench that the NIA’s reply was “almost ready” and sought an additional two weeks’ time to submit it in the court.
He also assured the court that the agency will continue with its oral statement made on the last date that charges in the Elgar Parishad-Maoists links case will not be framed before the special NIA court in the city until the next date before the high court on the above pleas. Following this the bench granted the central probe agency additional time.
The special NIA court had scheduled for matter for framing of charges on August 23, after the agency submitted draft charges before the court last month.
However, before charges were framed Bharadwaj, Navlakha and some other co-accused in the case sought clone copies of the electronic devices before framing of charges. The accused had at the time urged the special court to defer the framing of charges till their applications for clone copies were disposed of. However, the special court refused to defer the framing of charges on their plea following which Bharadwaj and Navlakha approached the high court with the same prayer.
On Friday, their counsel Yug Chaudhry told the bench that there existed some confusion on which electronic devices had been seized by the NIA from the accused and which copies should be handed over to them. He said the NIA must clarify the same in its reply.
ASG Singh however, said the Central agency would follow its own discretion in filing the reply and not the suggestion made by the petitioners.
After hearing arguments the court granted time to NIA and deferred hearing on petition till September 24.The National Investigating Agency (NIA) on Friday filed a 10,000-pages charge sheet in connection with the Ambani bomb scare and Mansukh Hiran murder case. In the chargesheet, 10 persons including dismissed Mumbai cop Sachin Waze, his associates policemen Riyazuddin Kazi, Sunil Mane and Waze’s mentor Pradeep Sharma have been charged in connection with industrialist Mukesh Ambani bomb scare, theft of the SUV in which explosives were found and murder of Thane based businessman Mansukh Hiren case. The chargesheet would be handed over to the accused after completing formalities.
The NIA has charged all the accused for criminal conspiracy, abduction, murder, destruction of evidence, extortion, forgery, criminal intimidation etc under relevant sections of IPC, Arms Act, Explosive Substance Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
Others chargesheeted are cricket bookie Naresh Ramniklal Gor, convicted police constable Vinayak Balasaheb Shinde alias Vinay, Santosh Atmaram Shelar, Anand Pandurang Jadhav, Satish Tirupati Mothkuri alias Tanni alias Vicky baba and Manish Vasantbhai Soni.
According to the NIA, incriminating evidences came to fore during the investigation about involvement of chargesheeted accused in various stages of conspiracy such as theft of Mahindra Scorpio vehicle, placing explosive laden vehicle near Mr Ambani’s house in Mumbai and Hire’'s murder.
According to sources, the agency has recorded statements of some of the accused before magistrate under section 164 of CrPc, which can be used as evidence in the court. There are many panchnamas of various spots and also electronic evidence against the accused.
Hiren was in possession of the Scorpio in which explosives were found stuffed near Ambani's residence. According to the probe agency he was killed because the accused believed he was the weakest link in the case.
According to the NIA, Shelar and Jadhav parked the explosives-laden SUV near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's residence 'Antilia' in South Mumbai. At the time of their arrest, the agency had claimed that Mothkuri and Soni had allegedly murdered Hiren with the help of two others in a Red Tavera Car.
Kazi was arrested on the charge that he collected evidences like Digital Video Recorder (DVR) from the housing society where Waze lived and he also collected fake number plates of cars used in both the crimes i.e. parking of explosives-laden vehicle near Ambani's residence and murder of Hiren and all these evidences where tampered with.
Police inspector Sunil Mane was heading Unit 12 of the Mumbai crime branch at the time of his arrest and NIA alleged that he was part of the conspiracy to kill Hiren. The NIA has claimed that Sharma too was part of the conspiracy.