Guwahati: Peasant leader of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) Akhil Gogoi who has been lodged in jail since last December on charges of being a ‘Maoist’ was granted default bail by a National Investigation Agency (NIA) special court on Tuesday.
The NIA was not able to file a chargesheet within the period of the 90 days of Gogoi’s stay in jail.
Gogoi is still at the Guwahati Central Jail due to another case filed by the city Panbabazaar Police Station (Crime Branch) in January this year. This case too is related to anti-CAA protests. According to KMSS member Mukut Deka, Gogoi can be re-arrested any time.
It is also to be noted that multiple police stations in upper Assam have filed a ‘shown arrest’ petition against him, and according to Deka, Gogoi can even be taken to Sivasagar from Guwahati.
Santanu Borthakur, a part of of Gogoi’s legal counsel team told The Wire, “Gogoi has already got bail in another case related to Jorhat and in another Guwahati-related case too, we have filed for bail.”
Gogoi’s the legal team on Tuesday morning filed a bail petition at the special NIA court. It should be noted that the NIA on March 16 had sought for an extension of another 90 days to file a chargesheet against Gogoi. But the court rejected the NIA’s petition.
In the meantime, the NIA has moved the Gauhati high court, challenging the special NIA court’s rejection. The high court has admitted the case, but no stay order has yet been passed.
Gogoi was initially arrested for his alleged involvement in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests that had gripped Assam in last December but later on he was brought under the custody of NIA and charges were levelled against him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention Act).
The NIA cited that he had alleged links with ‘Maoist’ groups. His arrest led to a huge outcry in Assam and the rest of India with activists and critics of CAA blaming the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state and the Central government of stifling dissent.
Mukut Deka further said, “Whether a chargesheet has been filed or not, a person cannot be kept in jail for a long time. This means that the NIA has no evidence to strengthen their case against Akhil Gogoi. There is no legal validity that a person should languish in jail if NIA is not able to file any chargesheet.”