Mumbai: The nine accused, mostly human rights activists, arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, were on Friday produced in a special court here, days after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over probe into the matter.
This was the first time that the accused -- Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Shoma Sen and Vernon Gonsalves -- appeared before the special NIA court here.
The 2017 case, which was being handled by the Pune police, was transferred to the NIA by the Centre in January.
On February 14, the court in Pune, which was earlier hearing the case, passed an order transferring the case to the special NIA court in Mumbai in response to a plea filed by the central agency.
The Pune court had directed that the accused be produced before the NIA court in Mumbai before or on February 28.
The accused rights activists were shifted to Mumbai from Pune's Yerawada Central Jail on Wednesday.
As per the court order, they were produced before special NIA court judge D E Kothalikar.
During the hearing, the prosecution apprised the court of the development in the case.
The lawyer representing the NIA said a charge sheet had been filed in the Pune court and interim applications of some of the accused were pending.
Standing in the dock along with two other accused, Ferreira told the court that the Arthur Road Jail, where they are presently lodged, is not allowing them to keep their books and charge-sheets citing lack of space. The previous jail had, however, allowed it, he said.
The judge said he will look into the matter and pass an appropiate order.
He then adjourned the hearing till March 13.
The judge said that henceforth the accused would be produced before court via video-conferencing.
The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the 'Elgar Parishad' conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which police claimed, triggered violence near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial located on the city's outskirts the next day.
The Pune police claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists.
The nine jailed activists are among 11 people booked by the NIA in the case for alleged links with Maoists.