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Elgar Parishad case: HC rejects anticipatory bail pleas of Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde

By Kanchan Chaudhari
PUBLISHED ON FEB 15, 2020 12:46 AM IST

he Bombay high court (HC) on Friday rejected the anticipatory bail applications of activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde in the Elgar Parishad case, but gave them four weeks’ time to approach the Supreme Court.

Justice Prakash Naik extended the activists’ interim protection from arrest for four weeks.

The HC noted that prima facie, there is evidence to suggest the activists’ complicity in the crimes, and held that their anticipatory bail applications were not maintainable.

Navlakha had approached the HC a day after a special Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) court in Pune rejected his anticipatory bail plea on November 12, 2019.

Navlakha and Teltumbde were booked by Vishrambaug police in Pune on January 8, 2018, for being part of the Elgar Parishad conclave, wherein provocative speeches were allegedly made by Communist Party of India (CPI) (Maoist) and Kabir Kala Manch members, leading to the violence at Bhima-Koregaon. According to the police, the activists have links to Maoists.

The police alleged that the banned CPI (Maoist) aimed at seizing political power by “wiping out” Indian armed forces and establishing “people’s democratic state”.

Navlakha had moved the special UAPA court in Pune for anticipatory bail claiming he was against Naxalite activities and was a “peace activist”. Navlakha’s lawyer had said there was absolutely no material to link the journalist-writer to the crimes and inadmissible electronic data was being portrayed as evidence.

The special court at Pune had, however, rejected his anticipatory bail plea noting that the prosecution had sufficient material to show that Navlakha was “not only a member of the banned organisation but an active leader”.

“Prima facie, it can be noted that organisation of Elgar Parishad at Pune was part of the larger conspiracy of the banned organisation and the Bhima-Koregaon episode is one of the instances of the execution of the said conspiracy,” the judge had said. The special court had also said that the documents seized from the house search of some of the accused revealed a “deep-rooted conspiracy of extremely serious repercussions and the applicant [Navlakha] was a party to the said conspiracy”.

Navlakha and Teltumbde are among the nine activists arrested in the case in 2018.

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