Mumbai: A special court on Thursday rejected 83-year-old tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy’s plea that NIA should return his straw and sipper which it had reportedly seized during his arrest.
He needs to use a straw or a sipper as he is unable to hold a glass in his hand because of tremors caused by Parkinson's disease.
After special NIA judge DE Kothalikar rejected the plea, Swamy's advocate Sharif Shaikh made a fresh request to provide Swamy with winter wear, a straw and sipper at their cost. Shaikh also filed a bail plea. The octogenarian's interim bail plea on medical grounds was rejected by the court last month.
Twenty days ago, when the plea for the straw and sipper was first made, the court had directed the NIA to file its reply. On Thursday, the agency, in its written reply, relied on a panchnama and said that it had not seized any such articles during arrest and hence did not possess them.
When a fresh plea for the articles at their own cost was made, the court asked Shaikh if a doctor had prescribed these. It then called for a report from medical officers of Taloja prison on December 4, on whether these articles needed to be provided.The plea had to be made, as Swamy had asked for winter wear in prison and jail authorities had refused to provide these and asked for a court order.
On Thursday, Swamy also filed a bail plea in which his advocates stated that he was 83 years old, had hearing loss in both ears and suffered from Parkinson's. He has been shifted to the prison hospital and is being taken care of by other inmates. It mentioned that apart from an FIR against Hindutva leaders Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide, a 10-member team led by the deputy mayor of Pune had submitted a report alleging their role as the main conspirators of the Bhima-Koregaon riots and said that Swamy’s name did not figure in the original FIR.
It narrated how in 2018, procedures were not followed by the Pune police team, as the search order was in Marathi and not translated for Swami, as was the inventory of seized articles he was forced to sign. It also did not follow procedure in electronic seizures. Further, the prosecution has cited word and pdf copies of incriminating letters, but they are not part of emails and there is no proof that they were ever sent or received, the plea said.
The NIA has also recovered from Swamy documents like “How to pay a bill,” showing that technologically he is not sound, the plea said. Referring to Swamy's communication with undertrials accused of being Maoists, the plea says that working for undertrials who could or could not have been Maoists, did not make Swamy himself a Maoist. Swamy is being falsely implicated due to the nature of his work, it said, adding that keeping a sick 83-year-old incarcerated did not serve any purpose to the prosecution.