NIA Accuses Navlakha of Links with ISI Agent in US, Opposes Bail Plea

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MUMBAI — Activist Gautam Navlakha, arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, had connections with a Pakistani ISI agent arrested in the US, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has told the Bombay High Court while opposing his bail application, reports PTI.

The agency, in its affidavit filed in response to Navlakha’s plea, also claimed that he had “committed acts that had a direct impact on the national security, unity and sovereignty.”

NIA lawyer Sandesh Patil on Monday informed a division bench of Justices A S Gadkari and P D Naik that it had filed its reply opposing Navlakha’s bail plea.

The bench said it would hear arguments on the application on February 27.

The NIA in its affidavit claimed that Navlakha had visited the United States thrice to speak at the Kashmiri American Council Conference organised by Ghulam Nabi Fai with whom Navlakha was in touch regularly.

“Ghulam Nabi Fai was arrested by the (US agency) FBI in July 2011 for accepting funds from the ISI and Pakistan government…. Navlakha had written a letter to the judge of the US court trying Ghulam Nabi Fai’s case for clemency,” the NIA said.

“Gautam Navlakha was introduced to a Pakistani ISI General for his recruitment by Ghulam Nabi Fai on the direction of the ISI, showing his nexus and complicity with Ghulam Nabi Fai and Pakistani ISI,” the agency further claimed.

Navlakha is presently under house arrest, instead of being in jail, as permitted by the Supreme Court on health grounds.

The agency also stated that Navlakha has “deep links with CPI (Maoist) and he espouses Maoist ideology and anti-government utterances through his various lectures and videos.”

The objective of these activities was to overthrow the government, it said.

Navlakha was assigned tasks such as uniting intellectuals against government forces and recruitment of cadres for “guerrilla activities of CPI (Maoist)”, the NIA alleged.

He was not merely supporting a banned terror organisation but “had an active role in furthering CPI (Maoist) activities,” it claimed.

The Elgar case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in Pune district.

Police had also claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists. Later the probe in the case, where more than a dozen activists and academicians have been named as accused, was transferred to the NIA.

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