Nagpur Court Acquits Arun Ferreira, Murli, Dhanendra Bhurle and Naresh Bansode
Posted by Admin on December 18, 2009
Mumbai: The four alleged Maoists, including Arun Thomas Ferreira and Murli alias Ashok Satyam Reddy, arrested by Nagpur police in 2007, were on Thursday acquitted in one of the cases against them. The prosecution failed to prove that the foursome were Naxalites and involved in any unlawful activities.
The verdict passed by the 5th ad hoc additional sessions judge RB Patil is seen as a setback to the police. The prosecution said it would move the high court in appeal.
Ferreira, Murli, Dhanendra Bhurle and Naresh Bansode will still be in prison pending trials in other cases against them in the Chandrapur and Gondia districts. But the Thursday’s verdict is a major victory for the four, their lawyers said.
"The prosecution failed to provide any evidence that the four were part of the banned CPI (Maoist) or were involved in any unlawful activities," said Neeraj Khandewale, one of the three defence lawyers.
The Supreme Court which stayed the bail of Bhurle and Bansode earlier this year had asked the high court bench to expedite the case.
Ferreira and Murli, the police had alleged in their deposition, were hardcore Naxals. The defence banked on several gaping holes in police investigations.
The prosecution failed to defend the defence contention that the state sanction to file the charge sheet under the Prevention of Unlawful Activities Act had not been properly obtained.
"The sanction is sought before filing the charge sheet," said Anil Kale, another defence lawyer. "Here, it was sought after filing of the charge sheet."
Kale argued before the court that not a single article seized from the foursome was contraband. The police had recovered a pistol from one of the four persons arrested.
The ballistic report found it to be a 7mm pistol, contradicting the police claim that it was 9mm pistol.
The prosecution had said that they laid a trap on a secret information. The police said they waited at the Nagpur railway station for Bhurle, a reporter with a Marathi daily, and Bansode, who, they said, had boarded a train from Gondia. But the prosecution had failed to furnish as evidence the platform tickets.
The defence said that the local police had not informed the railway police about the trap. The prosecution said the police followed the two to Deeksha Bhoomi where they were supposed to meet Ferreira and Murli.
The police arrested the quartet when the foursome met near the gate of the Ambedkar memorial. The police had alleged that both Ferreira and Murli were part of the CPI (Maoist), a charge the defence said the prosecution could not prove.
Feriera’s brother Sanjeev said, "My brother is innocent. His arrest was only based on his presence at Nagpur." DNA