The Bombay High Court on Monday rejected the bail plea filed by Delhi University’s associate professor Hany Babu, an accused in the 2017 Elgar Parishad case, noting prima facie allegations against him were true and that he was an active and prominent member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).
A division bench of Justices N M Jamdar and N R Borkar said the appeal filed by 54-year-old Babu, arrested in July 2020 in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, against the special court order refusing him bail was dismissed.
“….we find that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations against the Appellant are prima facie true,” the judgment said.
“The documents submitted by the NIA and the facts unearthed during the investigation, based on which we must proceed at this stage, show that the Appellant (Babu) is an active and prominent member of the CPI (Maoist) Party,” the court said.
The bench noted Babu was not just a passive, but an active member of this outfit.
The court, while referring to communication between the accused persons, refers to comrades proposing to take concrete steps to end the ‘Modi Raj’. It is stated that ‘we’ are thinking along the lines of another ‘Rajiv Gandhi-type incident’, and targeting ‘his’ road shows could be an effective strategy.
“We find that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations of the NIA against the Appellant having conspired, attempted, advocated and abetted the commission of a terrorist act/s and the act/s of preparatory to the commission of a terrorist act, are prima facie true,” the court said.
It added the CPI (Maoist) party was designated as a terrorist organisation and was working to establish a people’s government through violent means in an armed struggle. It wants to undermine and seize power from the State, the court said.
“The Appellant, along with other accused, are working for different mass organisations to further the activities of the CPI (Maoist) Party. The CPI (Maoist) Party has chalked out a detailed strategy for the furtherance of its role to overthrow the lawful Government, and the same strategy and tactics are adopted by the accused and the Appellant,” the order said.
The objective of this outfit was to overthrow the Government by the use of weapons and to mobilise armed unrest.
“Pursuant to the larger conspiracy to seize power from the State, the members of the police and armed forces have been made targets and killed, and also the conspiracy refers to elimination of constitutional functionaries. The Appellant is not merely a sympathiser with this organisation,” the bench said.
The HC added that the 2017 Elgar Parishad conclave in Pune was used to establish underground contact with the banned CPI (Maoist) through its activists working in Delhi, including Babu.
“The appellant was fully entrenched in the activities of the CPI (Maoist) Party, a banned organisation, and the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), also a banned organisation,” the bench said.
The court also refused to accept Babu’s contention that no terrorist act was committed in the present case.
“There is sufficient material against the Appellant at this stage of being involved in the core activities of the terrorist organisation,” it said.
Babu gained expertise in the activities of the terrorist organisation, and the correspondence between the other accused showed that he was a trustworthy member of the terrorist organisation who can be entrusted with important tasks, the HC said.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), conducting a probe into the case, has accused Babu of being a co-conspirator in propagating Maoist activities and ideology on the instructions of leaders of the banned CPI (Maoist) organisation.
Hany Babu was arrested on July 28, 2020, in the case and is currently lodged at the Taloja prison in neighbouring Navi Mumbai.
He approached the HC in June this year, challenging an order of the special NIA court here, which rejected his bail plea earlier this year. Babu, in his plea, said the special court had “erred” in holding that there existed prima facie incriminating material against him.
In his petition filed through advocates Yug Chaudhary and Payoshi Roy, Babu said while the NIA had cited a letter speaking of a conspiracy to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi as evidence in the case, the alleged letter did not incriminate him.
There existed no evidence to even suggest that he intended to or supported activities to cause disaffection against India, the plea said.
The NIA had opposed the bail plea, arguing that Babu actively participated in activities to promote Naxalism and wanted to overthrow the government.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh, appearing for the NIA, had claimed Babu was a member of the banned outfit CPI (Maoist) and the prosecution seized material from his laptop to show he was in constant contact with other accused in the case.
Babu wanted to promote and expand Naxalism and was a part of the conspiracy to wage a war against India by overthrowing the elected government, Singh said. He along with others wanted to set up “Janata Sarkar” ie people’s government by armed struggle, Singh had told the court.
ASG Singh had also argued that Babu used to train other members of the proscribed outfit on how to avoid phone tapping.