Elgar Parishad case: Gautam Navlakha moves HC seeking regular bail
Civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha on Monday moved the Bombay high court seeking regular bail in the Elgar Parishad–Bhima Koregaon violence case. Earlier, a special NIA court had on September 5 rejected the regular bail plea of the 70-year-old, who is presently under house arrest on medical grounds in Navi Mumbai
Mumbai: Civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha on Monday moved the Bombay high court seeking regular bail in the Elgar Parishad–Bhima Koregaon violence case.
Earlier, a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court had on September 5 rejected the regular bail plea of the 70-year-old, who is presently under house arrest on medical grounds in Navi Mumbai.
The Elgar Parishad case was registered by the Vishrambaug police in Pune on January 8, 2018, based on a complaint filed by a local builder, Tushar Damgude, alleging that members of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) had incited violence by creating communal disharmony.
Damgude claimed that members of the Kabir Kala Manch spread hatred through provocative songs, plays and speeches at the Elgar Parishad event in Shaniwar Wada on December 31, 2017, which led to widespread violence at Bhima Koregaon in Pune district and other parts of the state the next day. One person reportedly lost life and several others were injured in the violence.
Navlakha was arrested on August 28, 2018 for his alleged involvement in the case. Initially, he was released after the Delhi high court had quashed his arrest on October 1, 2018. However, the activist was rearrested on April 14, 2020 after his plea for anticipatory bail was rejected by the Supreme Court.
The New Delhi resident was accused of being a member of CPI (Maoist) and allegedly found in possession of incriminating documents related to the banned organisation, accessible exclusively to party members. He was also accused of delivering lectures on Kashmiri separatist and Maoist movements and supporting them.
In his bail plea filed in February this year, Navlakha had claimed that there was no evidence to show that he was in anyway connected to the purported larger conspiracy–to overthrow the duly elected government and therefore charges under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) were also not applicable to his case.
Navlakha had also claimed that he was critical of the Maoist ideology. “Being a peace activist, his beliefs are in fact exactly opposite to that of the Maoists, whose core beliefs are intrinsically based on violence. It is submitted that the Applicant had criticised the Maoists and is implacably opposed to violence as his published writings (which pre-date his arrest) show,” the bail plea mentioned.
Special NIA court had, however, rejected his bail plea primarily in view of “the seriousness of the offence and the prima facie material available against him.” The court had said that ample material was available against Navlakha in terms of the chargesheet filed by the NIA against him.