SC Rejects Navlakha’s Bail Plea, Gets 3 Weeks to Surrender

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Gautam Nalakha

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday rejected the anticipatory bail pleas of civil rights activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah asked both the activists to surrender within three weeks.

The top court also asked them to surrender their passports forthwith.

The court had on March 6 extended till today the interim protection from arrest granted to both the activists.

Teltumbde and Navlakha had approached the high court seeking pre-arrest bail in November last year after a sessions court in Pune rejected their pleas.

Navlakha, Teltumbde and several other activists have been booked by Pune Police for their alleged Maoist links and several other charges following the violence at Koregaon Bhima village in Pune district on January 1, 2018.

The police said Navlakha was involved in raising funds, recruiting cadre and weapon deal for banned Maoist group and was part of a “larger conspiracy” to destabilise the government.

Navlakha argued that he had undertaken fact-finding visits in tribal areas as a civil rights activist. The visits, he said, were for a purpose of documenting the impact of alleged unrest and violence on locals.

Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Teltumbde and Navlakha respectively, argued that the incriminatory letters submitted before the court were not theirs and were instead recovered from another person.

Singhvi, further submitted that Navlakha has been involved in the dialogue process where the government had engaged him in a peace process.

Violence had broken out between Dalits and Marathas in the village of Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1, 2018, a day after an event in Pune called the Elgar Parishad was organised to commemorate the 200the anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle between the East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy.

One person died in violence during a bandh called by Dalit outfits the following day.

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