MUMBAI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday submitted before a special court here draft charges under stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the IPC against 15 accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case of 2018.

The special court will consider the draft charges on August 23 and then frame charges against the accused, who included several activists.

Framing of charges is the first step before trial commences in a case where the prosecution describes the charges against the accused along with the evidence to be relied upon.

After framing of charges, the court will ask the accused whether they plead guilty or not in that case.

The draft charges submitted on Monday lay down 17 charges against the accused and they have been sought to be charged under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The accused persons’ lawyers on Monday requested the court to hear and dispose of several applications filed by the accused before framing charges against them.

Special NIA Judge D E Kothalikar then asked NIA to file their reply affidavits to all the applications and said arguments shall be heard on them on the next date.

The arrested accused in the case include several activists including Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Hany Babu, Anand Teltumbde, Shoma Sen, Gautam Navlakha and others.

The Elgar Parishad case is related to inflammatory speeches made at a conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located in the district in western Maharashtra.

The prosecution claimed the conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links.

The activists are accused of being active members of the CPI (Maoist) and propagating Maoist ideology and inciting violence.