Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], November 29 (ANI): Claims made by jailed rights activist Stan Swamy, accused in Bhima Koregaon violence case, regarding the seizure of straw and sipper by National Investigation Agency (NIA) are "false and mischievous", said the central probe agency in a public statement on Sunday.
"The reports claiming that NIA recovered straw and sipper from Swamy and sought 20 days' time from the special court to respond to Swamy's plea to allow him the items in Taloja Central Jail, are false, incorrect and mischievous," the investigation agency said.
It added that it never recovered any straw and sipper from the accused.
The 83-year-old Jesuit priest, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, filed a petition in the Special NIA Court earlier this month seeking a sipper and straw to take water and other liquid meals. In the plea, he said his sipper and straw were taken away from him when he was put in jail in October after his arrest.
During the latest hearing of the case on November 26, Swamy's lawyer told the court that his client was not being provided with any sipper and straw despite his repeated requests.
The NIA, however, told the court that it has not taken Swamy's custody after his arrest in September and that it was up to the jail authorities to provide him with "anything" as per the manual.
"We have not sought any custody of accused Stan Swamy and he is in Taloja prison near Mumbai since his first remand. So, it is the jail authority which has to decide about providing anything to the accused in judicial custody as per jail manual," said the NIA.
"After arresting accused Stan Swamy, NIA produced him before the Special Court in Mumbai along with a chargesheet on October 9, 2020, and never took his custody. All the necessary legal formalities such as his medical examination etc. were duly observed. Since then, accused Stan Swamy has been in judicial custody at Taloja Central Jail," the statement said.
Satej Patil, Maharashtra's Minister of State for Home, earlier tweeted on November 7 that Swamy is being provided with a sipper and straw.
When ANI contacted Swamy's lawyer Sharif Sheikh on Sunday, he said they have not received any confirmation if he has been provided with sipper and straw after the last hearing. "We hope that during the next hearing on December 4, Taloja prison will come up with some positive response," said Swamy's lawyer.
The NIA Court had asked the Taloja prison to file a report about the medical condition of Swamy and his demand of sipper and straw by December 4, when the court is scheduled to hear the matter next.
Meanwhile, government sources claimed that the jail authorities provided Swamy with sipper and straw on Sunday, even as multiple calls and texts to Maharashtra's Minister of State for Home Patil about the latest development in the case went unanswered.
As per the statement released by the NIA, Swamy was arrested on October 8 from Ranchi under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for his alleged involvement in the activities of banned CPI (Maoist) and conspiring the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad violence on December 31, 2017.
"Nearly after a month, i.e. on November 6, 2020, accused Stan Swamy filed an application in the NIA Court at Mumbai for getting back his straw and sipper, (which he falsely claimed to have been kept by NIA)," it added. (ANI)