HC denies pre-arrest bail to rights activists Navlakha, Teltumbde

However, the court extends their interim protection from arrest so they can approach SC in appeal

Gautam Navlakha
Teltumbde and Navlakha had approached the high court last November after a sessions court in Pune rejected their pleas | PTI File

Civil rights activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde were on Friday (February 14) denied anticipatory bail in the Elgar Parishad-alleged Maoist links case, but the Bombay High Court extended their interim protection from arrest for a period of four weeks so that they can approach the Supreme Court in appeal.

While rejecting their pre-arrest bail pleas, Justice PD Naik said “prima facie evidence shows complicity of both the accused in the case”. “On perusal of all the material on record, it can be seen that there is prima facie evidence showing complicity of applicants (Navlakha and Teltumbde) in the crime,” Justice Naik said.

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The court, after perusing letters allegedly exchanged between the accused persons, noted that Navlakha, Teltumbde and the other accused persons like Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson and Sudha Bharadwaj had direct access and connections with central committee members and leaders of CPI (Maoist).

“It was revealed during the course of investigation that Anand Teltumbde was a recipient of funds from the banned terrorist organisation,” the court said. Navlakha, Teltumbde and several other activists have been booked by the 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.

According to Pune Police, “inflammatory” speeches and “provocative” statements made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, had triggered caste violence at Koregaon Bhima the next day. The police alleged the conclave was backed by Maoists.

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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. In December last year, the high court had granted them interim protection from arrest pending disposal of their anticipatory bail pleas.

Although the Pune Police was investigating the case, the Centre had last month transferred the probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

(With inputs from agencies)

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