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Elgaar Parishad case: Activist Ferreira alleges assault by police

Activist Arun Ferreira, who was arrested in August for alleged Maoist links along with others, on Tuesday told a court here that he was “hit” by the investigating officer.

In a submission made before additional sessions court judge R V Adone through his lawyer Sidharth Patil, Ferreira said he was “hit” on his face “eight to ten times” by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Shivaji Pawar on November 4 during interrogation.

The ACP is the investigating officer (IO) in the Elgar Parishad case. He was not available for comments.

Police had claimed that violence erupted in Koregaon-Bhima near Pune on January 1, a day after “provocative speeches” were made at the Elgaar Parishad conclave held in Pune city.

They had also alleged that Maoists supported the conclave.

Ferreira claimed that there was swelling on his right cheek due to the “attack”, and during the medical examination the next day, the medical officer at Sassoon General Hospital in Pune had recorded the same in the medical report.

His lawyer requested the court to preserve the report to avoid any “tampering”.

On Ferreira’s application seeking recording of his statement before the special court in this regard, the prosecution sought time till November 12 to file its response which was granted by the court.

In a simultaneous development, the court remanded Ferreira and activists Vernon Gonsalves and Sudha Bharadwaj to judicial custody till November 19, as sought by special public prosecutor Ujjwala Pawar.

The prosecution said they were seeking the judicial custody of the trio “by reserving their right of police custody in future”.

The three accused were produced in the court, after their police custody expired Tuesday.

Ferreira and Gonsalves were taken into custody by Pune Police on October 26, after their bail pleas were rejected by a local court.

District and Sessions Judge (Special Judge) K D Vadane had rejected the bail applications of Ferreira and Gonsalves along with that of Bharadwaj, observing that the material collected by the police, on the face of it, showed their alleged links with Maoists.

The Pune Police had arrested Ferreira, Gonsalves, Bharadwaj and two others — Telugu poet Varavara Rao and activist Gautam Navlakha — in August this year in connection with its probe into violence in Koregaon Bhima.

The police had claimed to have seized emails exchanged between them and top Maoist leaders following which the accused were put under house arrest on Supreme Court’s orders.

However, Navlakha was later released by the Delhi High Court.

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