Assam Northeast

Jailed MLA Akhil Gogoi acquitted of the last pending NIA case, likely to be freed by evening

After a grueling one year six months in jail, Assam’s activist turned MLA Akhil Gogoi, is likely to be released on Thursday after a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) Court in Guwahati discharged him and his three associates of all charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for their alleged role in the violent anti-CAA protests in Assam in December 2019.

Gogoi had contested in Assam Assembly elections, 2021 from Sibsagar constituency from jail and despite not being able to campaign himself, Gogoi got a clear mandate that was declared on May 2.

NIA Special Judge Pranjal Das did not frame charges against Gogoi and his three associates Dhairjya Konwar, Manas Konwar and Bitu Sonowal in connection with the Chandmari case in which they were accused of having Maoist links.

The NIA had taken over two cases — Chandmari and Chabua police station — in December 2019 and had slapped the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act along with sedition and other IPC charges.

Akhil was on June 22 discharged of all charges — including UAPA and IPC sections — in the Chabua police station case by an NIA court in Guwahati for lack of “substantial materials” against him. The court had also held hearing for the Chandmari Case and had set June 30, Thursday, for next hearing.

The NIA had last Tuesday introduced a supplement chargesheet based on another “protected witness” to the Chandmari Police Station case, but that did not deffer the Court’s proceedings as feared by Akhil’s lawyers.

Gogoi is likely to be released later on Thursday after the court sends the release order to the jail. His three associates are already out on bail.

During his time in jail, Gogoi was infected of COVID-19 and was shifted to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) where he also underwent treatment for mental anxiety as informed by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

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