By Anand Singh
Mumbai, Oct 13 (IANS) Activist Gautam Navlakha, who has been arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case, visited the US thrice between 2010 and 2011 and was in touch with Ghulm Nabi Fai, an active member of the Pakistan-based Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), who in turn introduced the activist to an ISI General.
Navlakha had also written to a US judge to try Fai’s case for clemency when he was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 2011.
Last week, the NIA had filed a supplemntary chargesheet against Navlakha, Stan Swamy, Anand Teltumbde, Hany Babu, Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor, Jyoti Jagtap and Milind Teltumbde at a special NIA court in Mumbai under several sections of the Indian Penal Code and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The NIA in its chargesheet alleged that Navlakha visited the US thrice between 2010 and 2011.
An NIA official privy to the investigation told IANS, “Navlakha was communicating with Fai through phone and email.”
“Navlakha was introduced to a Pakistani ISI General for his recruitment by Fai. Navlakha was introduced to the ISI after showing his nexus and complicity with Fai and Pakistani ISI agents,” the official said.
The NIA in its chargesheet has claimed that Navlakha was in touch with the ISI and was assigned the task to unite intellectuals against the government.
The NIA said that Fai was arrested in July 2011 by the FBI for accepting funds of several millions from the ISI and the Pakistan government.
“Fai was an executive director of an organisation named Kashmiri American Council (KAC),” the official said.
According to the NIA, KAC is an ISI module based in Washington D.C. for propagating the cause of the right of self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Fai was charged with “failing” to register as a foreign government agent.
According to NIA officials, Fai was born in Jammu and Kashmir and later became a US citizen. In 2010, his organisation – the KAC – passed a controversial ‘Washington Declaration’ which was signed by three Indians who were regulars at his conferences.
They were professor Angana Chatterji, Navlakha and veteran journalist Ved Bhasin.
Fai was later released in 2013 after serving 16 months of his two-year sentence for conspiracy.
The NIA official said, “When Fai was serving his sentence in US jail, Navlkha had supported him by writing to the judge of the US court to try his case for clemency.”
The NIA also alleged that Navlakha delivered speeches at different forums and programmes on many issues related to the Kashmir separatists’ movement and CPI (Maoist) movement.
The official said that during the scrutiny of the documents seized from Navlakha, it became evident that he was related to the CPI (Maoist) as several strategic documents were recovered from his possession.
The NIA had registered a case on January 24 this year and arrested Navlakha in April. The case pertains to inciting people and giving provocative speeches during the Elgar Parishad organised by the activists of Kabir Kala Manch at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which promoted enmity between various caste groups and led to violence resulting in loss of life and property and state-wide agitations in Maharashtra.
During investigation, it was revealed that senior leaders of CPI (Maoist), an organisation banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, were in contact with the organisers of the Elgar Parishad as well as the accused arrested in the case to spread the ideology of Maoism and encourage unlawful activities.
The Pune Police had filed a chargesheet and a supplementary chargesheet in this case on November 15, 2018 and February 21, 2019, respectively.
(Anand Singh can be contacted at [email protected])