New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is now investigating the Bhima Koregaon case, on Tuesday arrested Hany Babu Musaliyarveettil Tharayil, an associate professor in Delhi University’s Department of English, an NIA official told PTI.
Hany Babu, 54, a well-known anti-caste activist, is a resident of Gautam Buddha Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, is the 12th person to be arrested in the case. The other 11 rights activists are Sudha Bharadwaj, Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Arun Ferreira, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha, all of whom have been repeatedly denied bail.
According to sources, Hany Babu was being questioned at the NIA’s Mumbai office since July 23. He had been summoned by NIA on July 12 to appear in Mumbai.
It may be recalled that about 10 months ago, some 20 officers of the Pune Police conducted searches at the residence of Hany Babu in Noida, in connection with the same case and seized his laptop and mobile phone.
According to website edexLive, the professor and his wife, Jenny Rowena, also a professor in Delhi University, are both anti-caste activists and part of the Alliance for Social Justice, a body involving students, teachers, administration staff from marginalised sections
Soon after receiving the NIA summons, the professor, who teaches in North Campus, told the website that in the past 10 months since the raid, he did not have any interaction with the police, and hence felt that the NIA summons “was out of the blue”.
He said he expected his name to be cleared and for all his materials to be returned to him. “They had taken pretty much everything — all my academic work. They locked me out of my Google account and I lost all my data and work. I’m left with virtually nothing. I was expecting to get it all back, instead now they’ve summoned me for another investigation,” he told edexLive.
According to his wife, Jenny, she got a call from NIA a few hours ago saying that Babu had been arrested on the basis of a “hidden folder” found in his computer (seized during the September 2019 raid at his residence).
On the arrest, an NIA release said: “During further investigation, it was revealed that accused Hany Babu Musaliyarveettil Tharayil was propagating Naxal activities and Maoist ideology and was a co-conspirator with other arrested accused.”
Hany Babu will be produced before NIA Special Court at Mumbai on July 29, and “his police custody will be sought for custodial interrogation,” the NIA statement read.
The Bhima Koregaon case, as per NIA, relates to the accused “inciting people and giving provocative speeches” during an Elgar Parishad event organised by the Kabir Kala Manch at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which “promoted enmity between various caste groups and led to violence resulting in loss of life and property and state-wide agitation in Maharashtra”.
However, all the accused have stoutly denied all the charges against them, made by the Pune police.
The case was transferred by the Centre to the NIA from the Maharashtra government after the Devendra Fadnavis-led Bharatiya Janata Party lost the Assembly elections in May this year.