Police asked to ‘drop’ Ilina case

The Telegraph, New Delhi, Feb. 3: The Centre has asked Maharashtra to “drop” its case against Ilina Sen, the wife of jailed rights activist Binayak Sen, a central government official said today.

Ilina was booked for allegedly not informing police about foreign delegates’ participation at a conference organised by the Indian Association for Women’s Studies (IAWS) and the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Vishwavidyalaya (MGAV) at Wardha in January.

The ATS Nagpur unit had noted in an FIR that Form C, as prescribed under the Foreigners Act, had not been submitted. The act requires hotelkeepers and other persons who own, occupy or control premises where foreigners are accommodated to submit information to authorities in a format known as Form C.

“The conference was being held with the home ministry’s permission. If Form C was not filled up, it was the hotel’s fault. The ATS seems to have gone overboard. We have requested the Maharashtra government to drop the case and they have agreed,” a government official said.

The case is significant because Binayak was convicted for helping Maoists in December. Ilina, an executive committee member of IAWS and the head of MGAV’s Women’s Studies department, has since claimed harassment by the state.

Ilina told The Telegraph over phone that she had yet to be informed about the withdrawal of the case. “I hope it is true but my phones are still being tapped and I’m being followed,” she said.

ATS additional commissioner Sukhvinder Singh said the case was with Wardha police and “it is up to them to comment on this”.

But a source in the ATS said: “The FIR stands as of now, but the government has the powers to withdraw the case the way riots cases are withdrawn.”

Although ATS chief Rakesh Maria was not available for comment today, he had hinted last week that charges against Ilina might be withdrawn.

“The sections under which the case has been made out are applicable to hotel owners and not individuals. Still, we have sought legal opinion on this issue,” he had said.

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