A group of citizens, comprising scholar, retired police officer, journalists and MP have filed an e-petition in Gauhati High Court appealing for early hearing of a case under which KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi has been arrested.
The citizens in the group include intellectual Hiren Gohain, former director-general of police (DGP) and author Harekrishna Deka, Rajya Sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, retired professor Apurba Kumar Baruah, social activist Deben Tamuly and senior journalists Haidar Hussain and Prasanta Rajguru.
“We are deeply concerned at the unfair treatment meted out to Akhil Gogoi, a social activist of standing. He has been under detention from December 12, 2019, in connection with NIA case (13/2019) under section 120B, 253A, 153B of IPC and Sections 18 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. The NIA failed to chargesheet him within the mandatory 90 days and therefore he was granted bail on March 17 by the Special Judge, National Investigation Agency,” they said in the petition addressed to Gauhati High Court chief justice Ajai Lamba.
They said following this, the NIA preferred criminal appeal (no. 121/2020) before the high court against the order dated March 16, passed by the special judge, National Investigation Agency.
They said on April 7, the high court stayed the operation of the order, dated March 16, and the matter was referred to the full bench by the division bench, on the point of maintainability of the appeal.
“However, it appears that the full bench has not met till date because the case has not been heard after March 16,” the appeal said.
“It is a matter of serious concern because a person has been in jail for four long months in a case where the NIA has not been able to file a chargesheet and now he is not being heard promptly. We understand that because of the pandemic all procedures are affected,” the appeal said.
It added that delay in hearing of this case amounts to depriving a citizen of his fundamental right to liberty, merely on suspicion, because the investigating agency has not been able to file a chargesheet even after four months.
“In the interest of justice we respectfully urge Gauhati High Court to facilitate an early hearing of the case,” they added.