New Delhi, May 12: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea by activist Gautam Navlakha seeking bail in the Elgar Parishad case of Bhima Koregaon in Maharashtra.
A bench of justices U.U. Lalit and K.M. Joseph dismissed Navlakha's appeal against the Bombay High Court order denying him bail in the case.
On March 26, the top court had reserved its verdict on a plea by Navlakha seeking bail in the case.
The top court had on March 3 sought a response from the NIA on Navlakha seeking default bail in the case, claiming the charge sheet was not filed within the stipulated time period.
The FIR against him was re-registered in January 2020, and Navlakha surrendered before the NIA on April 14 last year.
He had spent 11 days in the NIA's custody till April 25 and since then he is in judicial custody in the Taloja jail in neighbouring Navi Mumbai.
Navlakha had approached the high court last year, challenging the special NIA court's order of July 12, 2020 that rejected his plea for statutory bail. On December 16 last year, the High Court bench reserved its verdict on the plea filed by Navlakha seeking statutory or default bail on the ground that he had been in custody for over 90 days, but the prosecution failed to file a charge sheet in the case within this period.
The NIA had argued that his plea was not maintainable, and sought an extension of time to file the charge sheet. The special court had then accepted NIA's plea seeking extension of 90 to 180 days to file the charge sheet against Navlakha and his co-accused, activist Dr. Anand Teltumbde.
Navlakha's counsel had told the high court that the NIA was granted the extension to file its charge sheet. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal had said Navlakha had already spent 93 days in custody, including 34 days of house arrest, and that the High Court must count house arrest as a period of custody.
According to the police, some activists allegedly made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements at the Elgar Parishad meet in Pune on December 31, 2017, which triggered violence at Koregaon Bhima in the district the next day.