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Kobad Ghandy illegally detained for seven days

Posted by Admin on September 24, 2009

Holes in Maoist arrest date claim
ANANYA SENGUPTA

New Delhi, Sept. 23: A top Maoist leader who Delhi police claimed they had arrested on Sunday was picked up seven days earlier, a source who met the suspected rebel scout in Tihar jail revealed today.

The source said the Doon School-educated Khobad Ghandy, believed to be a politburo member of the banned CPI (Maoist), was held on September 13, not September 20 as the cops claimed while confirming the arrest yesterday.

If the allegation is true, it would mean the 58-year-old was illegally detained in police custody for seven days.

The law says the police have to produce before a magistrate anyone they pick up within 24 hours of the arrest.

The source said he spoke to Ghandy at 2 this afternoon from behind a window amid the chaos of home minister P. Chidambaram’s visit to the jail.

“The microphone wasn’t working properly and we couldn’t hear what he was saying clearly. When we asked him if he was arrested on September 20, he vehemently said no, we could hear that. He also gestured and said he was arrested long before that,” the source added.

Ghandy, according to the source, also revealed that he was picked up from Bikaji Cama Place in south Delhi the same day he had come to know that he was suffering from prostrate cancer. Two city hospitals, AIIMS and the government-run Safdarjung, are a stone’s throw from the area.

The Maoist leader, who according to sources also has a heart problem, said he was waiting for a contact, but refused to reveal his name.

Sources said Ghandy could have come to the capital for treatment and not to recruit cadre as some police officials have suggested.

Tihar, which reopened today after a long holiday, is yet to provide Ghandy with any medication either for his heart condition or for his cancer.

Sources said the Maoist leader had been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for being part of a banned group. “There is no FIR in the country that names him in any case. He has just been booked under the UAPA and not for any other crime,” said his lawyer Rajesh Tyagi, who also confirmed that Ghandy had indicated that he was arrested on September 13.

Police sources, however, suggested that Ghandy had also been booked for being part of the workers’ protest that rocked the Honda factory in July 2005.

“He didn’t show any anxiety and seemed glad that we had come to meet him. Our greatest concern is about his health and, hopefully, the lawyer assigned to him by the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners would look into that,” said activist Guatam Nawlakha, who also met Ghandy.

If convicted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Ghandy could be jailed for a maximum of two years for being a member of a banned outfit, unless charges of sedition and waging war against the nation are slapped on him.

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