A special NIA court in Guwahati on Thursday ‘discharged’ Raijor Dal MLA from Sivasagar legislative constituency in upper Assam Akhil Gogoi from all charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 in the Chandmari police station case that was registered in 2019.
The main chargesheet in the case was filed by the agency in June last year. On June 29, the agency filed a supplementary chargesheet against Akhil before the court in the Chandmari police station case and presented a “protected witness” in the case.
On June 22, Akhil was cleared by the court from all charges under the UA(P) Act 1967 in the Chabua case on June 22.
Akhil’s advocate Shantanu Borthakur said, “The special NIA court did not find adequate material to frame charges under the UA(P) Act in both the case. The agency filed a supplementary chargesheet in the Chandmari case and presented a protected witness. But, the court did not find that adequate material to frame charge against Akhil.”
Akhil was arrested by Assam Police on December 12, 2019, for his role in anti-Citizenship Amendment Bill protests, which raged and resulted in violence at several places in the state.
The case was transferred to NIA two days later. Since then, he was in judicial custody from where he contested and won the assembly elections from Sivasagar constituency. He is the first to win an assembly election from jail in Assam.
On June 25, Akhil was granted two days’ permission by the court to meet his family. He was escorted by the police to his home in upper Assam’s Jorhat district. On May 11, he was granted permission by the court to take oath as the legislator in the Assam legislative assembly.
In April, the Gauhati High Court upheld the bail granted by the special NIA court to Akhil in the Chabua police station case stating that under the UA(P)A of 1967 even “provocative speeches” could be unlawful but to be punishable offense it must be a terrorist act challenging the unity, integrity, security, and sovereignty of India.
The NIA court had granted bail to Akhil on October 1 last in the Chabua police station case a year after observing that the allegations brought by the NIA revealed by the materials cannot be prima-facie said to be a terrorist act done with the intention of threatening the unity, integrity, and sovereignty of India or a terrorist act done with the intention to strike terror in the people. The NIA subsequently challenged the lower court’s order in the high court.
Meanwhile, Raijor Dal working president Bhasco De Saikia welcomed the court’s verdict and said, “The verdict has again proved that the judiciary is still there in the country, for which people still have faith in the judiciary. The verdict established the win of democracy in the country.”