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Two More Cases Filed Against Jailed Jharkhand-Based Journalist Rupesh Kumar

Incidentally, Rupesh's name had appeared in the list of journalists who were targeted through the Pegasus spyware.

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Independent freelance journalist Rupesh Kumar, who was arrested on 17 July by the Jharkhand Police and accused of arranging funds for Maoists, now faces two additional cases, The Wire reported.

Of the two new cases, one is based on an FIR filed against 'unknown persons' on 30 June in Jharkhand's Bokaro, and the second is based on an FIR filed on 26 April in Bihar's Rohtas, and is being handled by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Incidentally, the Jharkhand-based journalist's name had appeared in the list of journalists who were targeted through the Pegasus spyware.
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The Cases

The case in which he has been arrested: On 17 July, Jharkhand Police had arrested Kumar in connection with a 2021 case in which senior Communist Party of India (Maoist) leader Prashant Bose alias Kishanda is an accused. The police alleged that Singh used to arrange funds for the Maoists. The case was filed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) as well as under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.

According to Kumar’s lawyer, they got to know of the two new cases only when Kumar was asked to be present in Bokaro on 11 August in connection with the case filed there, at Jageshwar police station.

The Bokaro case: It is important to note that in the FIR pertaining to the Bokaro case, Kumar is not among the seven accused named in the FIR for allegedly carrying out Maoist operations against the State. He had reportedly been asked to appear before the police as the FIR also mentioned “unknown persons”.

The charges levelled in the Bokaro FIR include:

  • IPC Sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (offence committed by any member of an unlawful assembly), 307 (attempt to murder), and 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty);

  • sections of the Explosive Substances Act, namely Section 4 (attempt to cause explosion, or for making or keeping explosives with intent to endanger life or property), and Section 5 (making or possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances);

  • section 27 (punishment for using arms) of the Arms Act;

  • section 10 (being member of an unlawful association) and Section 13 (unlawful activities) of UAPA;

  • and Section 17 (unlawful activities) of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.

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The Rohtas case: This case was filed by the Rohtas Police in Bihar. The NIA is reportedly carrying out the probe in this case.

Kumar, along with members of the CPI(M), including its committee member Vijay Kumar Arya, has been named in the case.

The FIR states that the police had received information that the top leadership of the outlawed Maoist party and its cadres were camping locally to collect and recruit people. The FIR also stated that police had seized Naxal literature meant for recruitment of cadres and promoting the activities of the CPI(M) party.

The charges levelled in the Rohtas FIR include IPC Sections 121A (waging war against the Government of India), 122A (collecting arms to wage war), 124 (sedition), 120B (criminal conspiracy), and 24 (dishonesty). The FIR also included various sections of the UAPA.
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‘Pattern of ’Conviction’ Without Trial, Like With Mohammad Zubair’: Kumar’s Lawyer

Kumar’s lawyer Shyam remarked to The Wire, “What we understand from this pattern of case after case against Rupesh is clear: it is a pattern of 'conviction' without trial, as evident from those arrested in the Delhi riots conspiracy case and the recent arrest of journalist Mohammad Zubair."

Ipsa Shatakshi, Kumar's wife, said, “The attempt is to ensure that Rupesh rots in jail for a long time."

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