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Arbitrary arrest of Human Rights Defender Satish Uke

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Satish Uke

Human Rights Defender

Maharashtra

 

HRDA has issued an urgent appeal to the National Human Rights Commission of India on 10th August regarding the arbitrary and motivated arrest and criminalisation of Human Rights Defender Mr. Satish Uke. He has been in the limelight for his petition in the Bombay High Court demanding official compensation for the family of CBI Judge B.H. Loya.

On July 31, 2018, Satish Uke, was arrested by the Economic Offences Wing of the Nagpur Police’s Crime Branch in a 15/17-year-old case. All these sections constitute non-bailable offences. Uke’s brother Pradeep and another person, Chandrashekar Mate have also been accused in the same case. The criminal complaint against the three of them has been filed by one Shobharani Nalode, the secretary of a cooperative housing society in Nagpur on the allegation that they presented forged documents in order to purchase land from the society.

Pradeep has alleged that Satish Uke’s arbitrary arrest is on account of his active involvement in the case of the death of Judge Loya. Satish Uke was the lone surviving witness of the three people to whom Judge Loya had confided that he was under heavy pressure in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, where allegations have been made against the ruling party at the state and centre, BJP’s National President Amit Shah amongst others. Satish Uke also recently filed a petition concerning the matter before the Bombay High Court in June 2018, demanding official compensation for the family of Judge Loya, and two weeks before the arrest had filed another application in court requesting that the petition be heard.

Satish Uke’s colleague and advocate, Abhiyan Barahate, who was working with him to collect information on Judge Loya’s death and had just a few days before that received information on Judge Loya’s case under Right to Information Act, 2005 and was in the process of applying for information of BJP National President Amit Shah’s protocol while visiting Nagpur, received a foul and intimidator call in the intervening night of March 5 and 6, 2018 from Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s cousin Sanjay Fadnavis, inter alia threatening that he would be picked up by the police and put behind bars and tortured if he continued his work.

Satish Uke had infact recently in June 2018 filed a petition before the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court demanding the reconstruction of the record pertaining to his police complaint filed on June 8, 2016 in respect of the attack / incident that took place at his office on the same day, after he was informed by the police upon his seeking information on the investigation that although spot panchanama was prepared, there is no entry in the station diary and no further investigation was carried out. On June 21, 2018, the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court issued notice in the matter, which is currently pending.

The decision to arrest Satish Uke in this old case, came just a week after the Nagpur Sessions Court issued notice against Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on July 24, 2018, to respond to a revision application filed by Satish Uke in a case alleging suppression by the minister of pending criminal cases against him while filing nomination papers which constitutes an electoral offence. In addition to the same, Satish Uke had also filed a complaint with several authorities inter alia alleging corruption by the chief minister and raising several other issues on July 9, 2018.

While extending police custody of Satish Uke on August 4, 2018 for two days, the Magistrate Court in Nagpur, who is seized of the matter, made an observation that the case is principally a civil dispute. When produced before the Magistrate Court on August 6, 2018, Satish Uke filed an application in person, to place certain facts pertaining to his detention, interrogation and arrest on record. He informed the court in the application that he was asked to hand over papers pertaining to the Judge Loya case and was interrogated extensively on the Judge Loya case while under arrest, and was also threatened that the police had instructions to harass his family members if he did not cooperate. Through the application he also put the Magistrate to notice of the threat to him, his family, juniors and colleagues. However, no protective or other orders have been passed in respect of the same.

HRDA pleads before the commission to Order an immediate, thorough, transparent, effective and impartial investigation into the above-mentioned criminal case being pursued against human rights defender Satish Uke, his brother Pradeep and Chandrashekar Mate.

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