NIA court clears activist-turned-MLA Akhil Gogoi of charges under UAPA

Guwahati: A National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Tuesday cleared Sivasagar MLA Akhil Gogoi in one of the two cases against him under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 for his alleged role in violent protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Assam.

NIA Special Judge Pranjal Das did not frame charges against Gogoi, who was arrested in December 2019, in connection with the case registered in the Chabua police station.

The court also discharged his two associates, Jagatjit Gohain and Bhupen Gogoi, of all charges under UAPA in the case.

Gogoi, president of the Raijor Dal, was earlier granted bail in the original case filed at the Chabua police station, which was later transferred to the NIA.

The NIA is investigating two cases, which were initially registered at Chandmari and Chabua police stations, related to the alleged role of Gogoi and his three colleagues in the violent protests.

Charges were framed against his third associate, Bhaskarjyoti Phukan, but not under the UAPA but under Section 144 IPC (Joining unlawful assembly armed with a deadly weapon) and the case has been now transferred to the court of the chief judicial magistrate, Dibrugarh.

The NIA court is also hearing on Tuesday the cases of the Chandmari police station which was also transferred to the NIA.

The court had rejected his bail application in the Chandmari police station case in August last year following which he had challenged it in the Gauhati High Court.

After the high court rejected Gogoi’s bail plea, he moved the Supreme Court which decided not to “consider the petition at this stage”.

Gogoi was arrested on December 12, 2019 from Jorhat, during the height of the anti-CAA protests in the state, as a “preventive measure” in view of the deteriorating law and order situation in the state and his three associates were taken into custody the next day.

The cases were later handed over to the NIA and they were booked under UAPA for their alleged role in the violent protest and their possible links with Maoist elements.

Gogoi became the first jailed leader in Assam to win an assembly election this year and he is currently lodged at the Gauhati Medical College Hospital for treatment of his ailments.