The court of Additional Sessions and District Judge Mohammad Gulzar today acquitted CPI (Maoist) ideologue Kobad Ghandy of all charges. He was booked by the Patiala police under Sections 10,13,18 and 20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Sections 419 and 120-B of the IPC for “anti-national” speeches at two meetings on the premises of Punjabi University in April and May 2009.
Ghandy’s defence counsel Brijinder Singh Sodhi brought to the fore the ‘shoddy’ credentials of one of the prosecution witnesses, who he claimed was facing multiple cases and had been awarded life sentence in one case. In order to get ‘concessions’ from the police, this witness may have given a statement against his client, Sodhi argued.
Pointing out that another witness had refused to identify Ghandy as the person who had delivered the “anti-national” speech at Punjabi University, he said the prosecution had failed to produce a single employee of the university to testify against him.
Ghandy was brought here from Cherlapally Central Jail, Telangana, on September 27 this year. Earlier in May, one of his associates Bacha Yadav, was discharged by the court for want of government sanction for his prosecution.
Ghandy, arrested by the Delhi Police in September 2009, had moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court, pleading that he had been booked for making speeches (in April and May of 2009) much before the CPI (Maoist) was banned on June 22, 2009. His plea was turned down. In June this year a Delhi court too had acquitted Ghandy of charges under Sections 20 and 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
On the Left track
Kobad Ghandy (65) belongs to a prominent Parsi family of Mumbai. He studied at The Doon School, Dehradun, and St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, and was a classmate of Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi. Later, he enrolled for a course in London but left it midway under the influence of the Left movement. On returning to India, he became part of the democratic rights movement in the 1970s. He came into contact with the People’s War Group (now CPI-Maoist) of Naxalites in the early 1980s. He has written on economic and political issues in mainstream newspapers and Left publications.