Observing that unlawful activities of naxalites need to be exposed, sternly dealt with and prevented, the Bombay high court refused to grant anticipatory bail to a former zilla parishad president and NCP leader from Gadchiroli accused of providing explosives to naxal groups.
Bandopant Mallelwar, former ZP president and local NCP leader from Gadchiroli, and his brother Narendra were accused of supplying arms to naxalites with five others, including a government doctor of Maharashtra's Maoist-hit Gadchiroli district.
While 4 persons were arrested in the case, Bandopant, Narendra and the doctor, Ravindra Karpe, are still absconding.
Bandopant approached the Nagpur bench of the high court seeking anticipatory bail on the ground that he was innocent and never indulged in criminal conspiracy to provide explosives and ammunition to naxalites.
Bandopant and others were booked under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosives Act and IPC.
"In the present case considering that prima facie there is ground to believe involvement of the applicant (Bandopant) and the fact that the investigation is at preliminary stage, I am not prepared to take a different view from that of the sessions court rejecting his anticipatory bail," justice AP Bhangale observed on July 31.
"Custodial interrogation may yield more valuable and material information in respect of the unlawful activities of naxalites which are required to be exposed, sternly dealt with and all their unlawful activities need to be prevented in future in the interest of maintaining law and order in the society and for the welfare and safety of people in the naxal infested areas of the state," Justice Bhangale said.
In June, the Gadchiroli police had stopped an ambulance of a government hospital near Bhamragarh and seized arms and ammunition allegedly meant for naxals. Four persons in the vehicle were arrested.
According to police, Bandopant and his brother had influenced Karpe to allow them to use the ambulance.
Police also conducted searches at the Nagpur house of the Mallelwars and seized two letters by an alleged naxal leader thanking Bandopant for giving Rs. 35,000 as development fund.