Vishwas.Kothari@timesgroup.com

Pune:

Officiating UAPA judge S S Gosavi on Friday asked the state prosecution to file a written say on activist Surendra Gadling’s plea seeking cloned copies of the 25 terabyte electronic data police seized in the Elgar Parishad case from all the arrested accused.

Lawyer Siddharth Patil, one of the defence lawyers, told TOI, “We brought to the court’s notice that the state prosecution had not yet filed a written say on Gadling’s plea for cloned copies. The court then asked the district government pleader to file the say by the next hearing.”

At a previous hearing, the special UAPA court had issued a directive that cloned copies of the seized electronic data be taken out in the presence of the defence and the prosecution representatives, and the investigating officer, and given to all the accused.

The defence lawyers on February 8 submitted a pursis (written statement to the court) stating that the defence representatives could not be made a witness in the process of securing the cloned copies and the police be directed to furnish the copies as per apt procedure.

The state had then said it would file a written say on this matter.

All the nine arrested activists — Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, P Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves — were produced before the officiating judge as special UAPA judge Kishor D Vadane, hearing the case, was on leave.

The court posted the matter for next hearing on February 22, when it is expected to come up before judge Vadane.

Patil said, “We wanted to move a couple of miscellaneous applications, but the officiating judge suggested that it was better we moved the same before the special UAPA judge hearing the case.”

It is the police’s case that Gadling and the eight others, arrested on June 6 and August 28, are active members of the banned CPI (Maoist), which was behind organizing the Elgar Parishad in Pune on December 31, 2017.

Alleged inflammatory speeches and provocative statements made at the Parishad contributed to the January 1, 2018, caste clashes at Koregaon Bhima on Ahmednagar highway, about 30km from the city.