In the first instance of the Enforcement Directorate initiating investigations into the Elgaar Parishad case, the agency will question accused Surendra Gadling for his alleged role in funding the activities of the banned outfit, CPI (Maoist), officials said, according to The Indian Express. adding that the interrogations are likely to begin Wednesday. The Elgaar Parishad case, which has been so far investigated by the National Investigation Agency and the Pune Police, was registered after violent clashes at an event held in Pune on December 31, 2017, a day ahead of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon Bhima.
The probe by the NIA and the Pune police has so far been confined to alleged terror plots and conspiracies by the CPI (Maoist) to destabilise the country’s security. The investigation later expanded to investigate a wider network of Naxal sympathisers and their role in funding and helping CPI (Maoist).
The ED has now claimed that Gadling was involved in the collection and disbursement of Maoist funds for “violent activities”, reported IE, adding that the agency will be recording his statement in Taloja Central Jail between August 17 and 19. As per the report, properties in the name of Gadling and his wife are also under ED lens.
A special NIA court had last week given its go-ahead to the ED to record Gadling’s statement in connection with a money laundering case it had filed against him and “other accused” in March last year. According to the ED, the documents seized by the Pune police allegedly link Gadling to funding activities of the CPI (Maoist). Gadling has denied these allegations.
As per the documents, Gadling received huge amounts of money during the demonetisation drive in November 2018, and also facilitated ‘hawala’ transactions with a ‘CC comrade’, a reference to some high functionary of the CPI (Maoist), reports IE.
The Elgaar Parishad clashes left one person dead and several others injured. The Pune police had held the speeches made at the event and previous campaigns as factors responsible for the violence that ensued.
Nagpur-based lawyer Gadling was among the first arrests made by the Pune police in June 2018. This was followed by several high-profile arrests, including Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha and P Varavara Rao.