New Delhi: A Pune special court on Tuesday rejected the anticipatory bail plea moved by rights activist Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon- Elgar Parishad case. The court also refused to extend the protection given to him by the Supreme Court, paving the way for his arrest any time soon.
According to reports, the special UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) court held that there was material against Navlakha that required custodial interrogation.
Navlakha, who has been accused of having Maoist links, along with five other activists who are in jail, had moved the special court in Pune on November 5 to seek anticipatory bail after the Bombay High Court last week asked him to approach a lower court. The interim protection granted to him by the Supreme Court ended on November 12.
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Agency reports said that special judge S R Navander also rejected a plea by Navlakha’s lawyer, Ragini Ahuja, who had sought a three-day extension of the interim protection so that he could move the Bombay High Court.
Navlakha was one of the five activists, including lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, and poet Varavara Rao, who were arrested in August 2018 for alleged Maoist links and their alleged role in the violence in Bhima Koregaon village in Maharashtra following the Elgar Parishad gathering a day before to commemorate the battle in 1818, considered a significant day for dalits across the state.
According to the police, “inflammatory” speeches and “provocative” statements at the Elgar Parishad conclave held on December 31, 2017, had triggered caste violence at Koregaon Bhima village near here on January 1, 2018. It also claimed that the Elgar Parishad had Maoist links.
Also Read: Bhima-Koregaon Case: Produce Material, Don’t Trouble Gautam Navlakha, SC Tells Pune Police
However, Navlakha had moved the Delhi High Court, which ordered an interim stay on his transit remand. Thereafter, he was under house arrest for some time.
After the violence in Bhima-Koregaon in January 2018, Pune police arrested 10 lawyers, activists, writers, academics from across the country, accusing them of having Maoist links, though no substantial evidence has been produced as yet.
(inputs from PTI)