As the main accused, will the death of Father Stan Swamy affect the further investigation?

    09-Jul-2021   
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Christian Jesuit Father Stan Swamy died on July 4 in the early morning. He was accused in Bhima Koregaon - Elgar Parishad riot case. National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been investigating the case since the riot occurred after a controversial event named Elgar Parishad in Pune, Maharashtra. During the investigation, when NIA found several links of involvement of Father Stan Swamy, they had arrested him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Along with Father Stan Swamy, NIA arrested 16 other suspects for alleged involvement in the initiation of riots.
 
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Bhima Koregaon Riot Case
 
Under the banner Elgar Parishad, on December 31, 2017, an event was held in Shaniwar Wada in Pune, Maharashtra. On the next day January 1, 2018, violent clashes broke out near Sanaswadi. A 28-year-old Rahul Patangale, who was on his way back home to Sanaswadi, was killed in this violence. After the investigation, the Pune Police arrested several controversial fingers and co-organisers of the Elgar Parishad event named Sudhir Dhawale, Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson under UAPA.
 
After further investigation, police had arrested Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Varavara Rao and Vernon Gonsalves.
 
On January 24, 2020, the investigation into the Elgar Parishad case was taken over by the NIA, which filed a 10,000+ page charge sheet with fresh names. Father Stan Swamy was named in the charge sheet.
 
Special NIA Court on Father Stan Swamy
 
After the arrest, NIA had produced Stan Swamy before Special NIA Court and had filed a charge sheet against him. The Special Court had found that Father Stan Swamy is one of the prime accused in the riot case. As a result, the court had refused his bail application many times. While refusing bail to Stan Swamy last time, the court had said that prima facie Swamy had hatched a "serious conspiracy" with members of a banned Maoist organisation to create unrest in the country and to overthrow the Government.
 
Special judge DE Kothalikar had said in his order that based on the material on record, it seemed Swamy was a member of a banned Maoist organisation.
 
"Prima facie it can be gathered that the applicant alongwith other members of the banned organisation hatched a serious conspiracy to create unrest in the entire country and to overpower the Government, politically and by using muscle power," judge Kothalikar had said in his order.
 
"The material placed on record thus prima facie denote that the applicant was not only the member of banned organisation CPI (Maoist) but he was carrying out activities further in the objective of the organisation which is nothing but to overthrow the democracy of the nation," the order had read.
 
Father Stan Swamy's death
 
Meanwhile, Father Stan Swamy’s health was started deteriorating in Taloja Jail. On May 19, 2021, he was admitted to JJ Hospital in Mumbai. He was tested negative in the Coronavirus test. After feeling well, he got discharge from the hospital. Again he started complaining about his health. However, he was not ready to take treatment in any hospital. But later, he was admitted to a Christian hospital named Holy Family Hospital, where he was found infected with Coronavirus. Stan Swamy's health further deteriorated there, and he started losing his multiple organs during the treatment. He was put on a ventilator, but he died due to cardiac arrest. The doctor informed the court regarding his death during the hearing of his bail application. When the news came to the light, some people started raising questions on his death. On social media, people called it mysterious and started demanding the inquiry of his death.
 
Effect on further investigation
 
The case is under investigation. However, the court has called Stan Swamy as one of the prime accused after considering the facts presented by NIA after a detailed investigation. Court has found that Stan Swamy was linked with several controversial figures and banned organizations. NIA arrested some other suspects after investigating the material found at Stan Swamy's location. As a result, his death may affect the further investigation of the case.