Deeptiman Tiwary, Mumbai Mirror
The Bombay High Court has sent notices to Additional Chief Secretary (Home), SP (Gadchiroli) and SP (Nagpur Central Jail) among others following a petition filed by Arun Ferriera, a Bandra resident accused of being a Naxalite.
The alleged CPI (Maoist) leader, who had been arrested immediately after being released from jail in September, has alleged that the state’s home department and police have violated his fundamental rights and framed him in false cases to prolong incarceration.
Ferriera, in his petition, has demanded that the state apologise to him for denying him his rights and compensate him with Rs 25 lakh for the mental agony and financial loss that illegal police action has caused him and his family.
The petition, filed by Ferriera’s lawyer Surendra Gadling on Tuesday, says that it has approached the court to “ensure a fair, just and speedy trial and to initiate proceedings against police and jail personnel for criminal acts committed by them”. It has also alleged that police abducted Ferriera as soon as he came out of jail in September.
Ferriera was arrested on May 8, 2007, from Nagpur and has been in the Nagpur jail ever since. He was acquitted of all cases and walked out of jail on September 27, but was rearrested by Purada police in an old case related to Naxal violence.
The petition says that on the day of Ferriera’s release officers from Dhantoli Police Station, Gadchiroli, abducted him. The next day he was shown as arrested by Purada police in a three-year-old case in which he had been declared as absconding.
Gadling told Mumbai Mirror, “Even the local court observed that when Ferriera had been in jail all these years, police’s sudden decision to arrest him looked suspicious and showed an inordinate delay on part of the police. We have told the court that the police deliberately declared Ferriera an absconder to prolong his incarceration. This is infringement of basic fundamental rights.”
The petition also mentions that Ferriera antagonised jail officers after he went on a hunger strike to demand rights of an undertrial following which police tried to book him for suicide. However, the attempt fell through in court.
The petition, citing evidence of fabrication of cases against Ferriera, has demanded that the court declare that the state and the police “have violated the petitioner’s fundamental rights of liberty, speedy trial and freedom of movement guaranteed by the Constitution of India.” It also asks for quashing of all cases pending and/or convictions against the petitioner in the various courts of the state.
Ferriera has also demanded a judicial probe by a retired HC judge or a sitting Sessions Court judge into the practice of abduction from prison and re-arrest immediately after release. It has also asked that pending the petition police may be restrained from taking any action against Ferriera without HC’s consent.
The ferriera files
Arun Ferriera and three others were arrested in Nagpur in 2007 for allegedly carrying out clandestine operations for the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).
In December 2009, the four were acquitted in one of the cases against them as the prosecution failed to prove that they were Naxalites or involved in any unlawful activities.
While in jail, Ferriera attained a PG diploma, through correspondence, from the Indian Institute of Human Rights, Delhi