Bombay high court reserves order on Navlakha’s plea to quash FIR
The Bombay high court (HC) on Friday reserved its order on the petition filed by activist Gautam Navlakha to quash an FIR filed by the Pune police, accusing him and some others of inciting violence at Bhima-Koregaon on January 1, 2018.
The court, however, also observed that terrorists are not only those who drop bombs, but also those who abet them.
After the state, on Wednesday, submitted letters and emails, recovered from Navlakha and other co-accused, detailing his meeting with the banned Hizbul Mujahideen leaders in 2011, the HC on Friday referred to section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and said abetting, advising, advocating terrorist activities were also offences.
The HC noted that based on the submissions of the Pune police, it was “prima facie difficult to believe that no crime was committed”. “Can it be said that only someone who drops the bomb is a terrorist and is liable for terrorist offences? Abettors are equally guilty,” observed the bench of justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre.
During its submission on Wednesday, the state had also provided the court with some confidential, “sensitive” documents detailing what had transpired between Navlakha and a co-accused in 2017, and said custodial interrogation of the activist was required.
On Friday, however, senior advocate Dr Yug Choudhary, who represented Navlakha, said that based on the documents and letters allegedly recovered from the laptops belonging to Navlakha and the other co-accused, his client could not be implicated under the stringent UAPA. He said the FIR should be quashed as the evidence did not show he was a part of any terrorist activities. Choudhary objected to the Pune police’s claims that his client was a member of the banned Communist Party of India (CPI) (Maoist) group and had links with banned organisations. He submitted that the Maoists had labelled him as an activist working against their interests, and hence, the claims were baseless.