In the evening on 31 July, Satish Uke, a lawyer and activist, was arrested by the Economic Offences Wing of the Nagpur Police’s Crime Branch for offences he allegedly committed 17 years ago, in 2001. In June this year, Uke had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court demanding official compensation for the family of the late CBI judge BH Loya, on the basis of government documents showing that the judge was in Nagpur “for government work” at the time of his death. Two weeks before his arrest, Uke filed another application in the court, requesting it to entertain the petition. The court has not yet listed the petition for its first hearing. Uke has previously filed petitions accusing the chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis of electoral offences, alleging that Fadnavis filed inaccurate nominations for two state assembly elections.
According to Lalit Vartikar, the investigating officer in the case against Uke, the police arrested the activist-lawyer following a complaint by Shobharani Nalode, the secretary of a cooperative housing society in Nagpur. Vartikar said Uke had presented forged documents in order to purchase land from the society. Vartikar added that Uke has been booked under sections 120B, 420, 423, 424, 447, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 474 of the Indian Penal Code—all of which constitute offences related to conspiracy, cheating and forgery of documents.
Vartikar told us that though Nalode had filed the complaint in April, the Economic Offences Wing registered a first information report against Uke on the same day as his arrest. When we asked him about the unusual alacrity shown in this case, he said that a preliminary investigation was already ongoing against Uke since April, and that they registered the FIR because Nalode approached the police again on 31 July. That morning, right after registering the FIR, the police appeared to have concluded that the evidence furnished by the preliminary enquiry was already enough to charge Uke on 10 counts of the IPC and arrest him as well.