Elgar Case: Bombay HC Refuses Bail to Delhi Varsity Prof Hany Babu
Prof Hany Babu. Image Courtesy: National Herald
Mumbai/Delhi: The Bombay High Court on Monday rejected the bail plea filed by Delhi University's associate professor Hany Babu, an accused in the 2017 Elgar Parishad case, noting prima facie allegations against him were true and that he was an active and prominent member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).
Hany Babu, who was arrested in July 2020 from his residence in Delhi, is lodged in Taloja prison in Mumbai since the past two years.
A division bench of Justices N M Jamdar and N R Borkar said the appeal filed by 54-year-old Babu, arrested in July 2020 in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, against the special court order refusing him bail was dismissed.
"....we find that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations against the Appellant are prima facie true," the judgment said.
"The documents submitted by the NIA and the facts unearthed during the investigation, based on which we must proceed at this stage, show that the Appellant (Babu) is an active and prominent member of the CPI (Maoist) Party," the court said.
The bench noted Babu was not just a passive, but an active member of this outfit.
The court, while referring to communication between the accused persons, refers to comrades proposing to take concrete steps to end the 'Modi Raj'. It is stated that 'we' are thinking along the lines of another 'Rajiv Gandhi-type incident', and targeting 'his' road shows could be an effective strategy.
"We find that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations of the NIA against the Appellant having conspired, attempted, advocated and abetted the commission of a terrorist act/s and the act/s of preparatory to the commission of a terrorist act, are prima facie true," the court said.
It added the CPI (Maoist) party was designated as a terrorist organisation and was working to establish a people's government through violent means in an armed struggle. It wants to undermine and seize power from the State, the court said.
"The Appellant, along with other accused, are working for different mass organisations to further the activities of the CPI (Maoist) Party. The CPI (Maoist) Party has chalked out a detailed strategy for the furtherance of its role to overthrow the lawful Government, and the same strategy and tactics are adopted by the accused and the Appellant," the order said.
"Pursuant to the larger conspiracy to seize power from the State, the members of the police and armed forces have been made targets and killed, and also the conspiracy refers to elimination of constitutional functionaries. The Appellant is not merely a sympathiser with this organisation," the bench said.
The HC added that the 2017 Elgar Parishad conclave in Pune was used to establish underground contact with the banned CPI (Maoist) through its activists working in Delhi, including Babu.
"The appellant was fully entrenched in the activities of the CPI (Maoist) Party, a banned organisation, and the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), also a banned organisation," the bench said.
The court also refused to accept Babu's contention that no terrorist act was committed in the present case.
The Elgar Parishad case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at a conclave, held in Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial, leading to the death of one person.
Some leading human rights activists and activists were arrested later and named as accused by the Pune Police, which was earlier handling the case during the tenure of the BJP government in Maharashtra. Later, the case was handed over to the National Investigation Agency.
Hany Babu, an English lecturer in Delhi University, had moved the HC in June this year, challenging the order of the special NIA court that had rejected his bail plea.
His petition had stated that the court had “erred” in holding that there existed prima facie incriminating material against him.
“There existed no evidence to even suggest that he intended to or supported activities to cause disaffection against India,” Babu’s petition has stated.
In June this year, a Bombay HC bench, consisting of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and V G Bisht, had recused itself from hearing Babu’s bail pleas without citing any reason.
Justice Mohite-Dere also recused herself from hearing a plea filed by Elgar Parishad case co-accused Gautam Navlakha, who is also lodged in Taloja jail.
In 2019, too, Justice Mohite-Dere had recused herself from hearing pleas by eight accused persons in the case, who had challenged a Pune sessions court order taking cognisance of a charge sheet filed in the case by local police, the initial prosecuting agency in the case.
In the past, Justices PB Varale, SS Shinde and Sadhana Jadhav of the Bombay High Court had also recused themselves from hearing the Elgar Parishad matters, according to an earlier PTI report.
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