The National Investigation Agency (NIA) released a statement on Sunday, November 29, rejecting allegations by Father Stan Swamy regarding the seizure of his straw and sipper. The central probe agency called the allegations 'false' and 'mischievous', The Hindu reported.
"The reports claiming that NIA recovered straw and sipper from accused Stan Swamy and sought 20 days from the court to respond to Stan Swamy's plea to allow him a straw and sipper in Taloja Central Jail, are false, incorrect and mischievous as NIA neither recovered any straw and sipper from the accused nor sought 20 days to file reply in said application," the agency wrote in their statement.
83-year-old Father Stan Swamy was arrested on October 15 in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence. The tribal activist has been lodged in Taloja jail.
In the first week of November, Swamy filed a plea before the court asking his straw and sipper be returned to him as he suffers from Parkinson's disease. The NIA, however, has claimed that Swamy's claims that his straw and sipper were kept by the agency are false.
"After arresting accused Stan Swamy, NIA produced him before the Special Court in Mumbai along with Chargesheet on 9/10/2020 and never took his police custody. All the necessary legal formalities such as his medical examination etc. were duly observed. Since then, accused Stan Swamy has been in judicial custody at Taloja Central jail," the NIA wrote in their statement.
"Nearly after a month, i.e. on 6/11/2020, accused Stan Swamy filed an application in the Hon'ble NIA Court at Mumbai for getting back his straw and sipper, (which he falsely claimed to have been kept by NIA)," the statement added.
As ordered by the court, the central agency said that "NIA had conducted his personal search in presence of independent witnesses and no such straw and sipper were found".
On November 26, the court issued directions to jail authorities to provide him with straw and sipper.
The NIA said that since Father Stan Swamy was in judicial custody, the matter was "between him and the jail authorities which come under the Maharashtra State Administration".
The statement by the NIA comes at a time when netizens are joining the campaign '#SippersForStan' and placing orders for a sipper and straw to be delivered to Taloja jail. Among them was Mumbai resident Deepak Venkateshan, who urged his social media followers to courier a sipper and straw to Taloja Jail, since the authorities were unable to do provide them to the activist.
"Let's flood the jail with straws and sippers" he wrote on Facebook. "Let the world know that we are still humane as a nation. Maybe we chose the wrong leaders, but there is still humanity left in us. An 83-year-old man not getting a straw cannot be the nation we live in."
Swamy has not been keeping well for a long time and in his medical plea has mentioned that he has almost lost his hearing ability, fallen in jail multiple times, and has a lot of pain in the lower abdomen as he has been operated for hernia twice.
Swamy is alleged to be a member of the banned Communist Party of India and was arrested for involvement in a conspiracy to instigate caste violence in Bhima Koregaon village near Pune in 2018. He was arrested by the NIA from Ranchi on October 8 and brought to Mumbai the next day. The activist has been in judicial custody since October 9.