Akhil Gogoi
Akhil Gogoi (File image)

GUWAHATI: The Gauhati high court has allowed the national investigation agency (NIA) to frame charges against Sivasagar MLA Akhil Gogoi in connection with violent anti-CAA protests in Assam in 2019.

Notably, the Gauhati high court quashed an earlier NIA court’s discharge order and has allowed the probe body to book the Assam legislator along with three others.

“The Gauhati high court quashed the discharge order passed by the special judge, NIA court, Guwahati and has allowed the petition filed by the NIA,” Assam advocate general Devajit Lon Saikia told ANI.

The NIA had challenged the order of a special NIA court, dated 01.07.2021, giving clean chit to the four accused, including Assam MLA Akhil Gogoi in the anti-CAA protests case.

The Gauhati high court has asked the NIA to reopen the case and book Akhil Gogoi.

“It is no doubt correct that the advent of CAB/ CAA had triggered widespread public resentment across the state of Assam leading to the sporadic outbreak of protests across the state. A number of organizations also participated in such protests. It is also correct that the members of the public have a constitutional right to resort to peaceful protest in such matters. The fact, however, remains that the prosecution is relying upon the record to show that the protests and agitations resorted to by the accused persons during the relevant time, in some places, had turned violent,” the HC order said.

Gogoi in association with and with the active support of his followers, had not only mobilized the public and persuaded them to join the agitation in protest against the CAB/CAA but also had spear-headed such agitation in many places. During the course of the agitation, incidents of violence did break out in many places, the court said.

“As such, the approach of the learned Special Judge, NIA, in our considered opinion, was clearly erroneous in the eye of the law, thus having a vitiating effect on the impugned judgment,” the order stated.

“For the reasons stated above, we consider that the entire matter calls for reconsideration by the learned Special Judge, NIA. We set aside the impugned order dated July 1, 2021, and remand the matter back to the learned trial court to conduct a fresh hearing on the framing of the charge against all four accused persons,” it read.

The Special NIA Court on July 1, 2021, released Gogoi and three others for their alleged role in the violent anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act stir in Assam in December 2019.

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