Elgar Parishad case: NIA court rejects Dr Anand Teltumbde’s bail plea
The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Friday rejected the application of the academic and social activist Dr. Anand Teltumbde, who is an accused in the Elgar Parishad/Bhima Koregaon case.
Dr. Teltumbde had moved bail plea on the ground that NIA had failed to file a charge sheet within the stipulated 90-day timeframe, but the special court extended its deadline.
The special court rejected his plea observing that the court is not expected to delve into ifs and buts.
Dr. Teltumbde, an engineering graduate and an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Ahmedabad, who used to teach at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur and at the Goa Institute of Management, was arrested after the Supreme Court (SC) had refused to grant him protection in April.
On April 14, Dr. Teltumbde had surrendered before NIA in Mumbai after the central agency authorities insisted on his custody as they needed to probe his alleged links with the outlawed Communist Party of India (CPI, Maoist).
However, NIA did not file a charge sheet even though 91 days had passed, which led Dr. Teltumbde to move his bail plea.
On July19, the special NIA court granted the NIA an extension of 90 days to file a charge sheet against Dr. Teltumbde, who subsequently challenged the move.
He pleaded that his application before the special court is taken on record and treated as an application for default bail.
According to the prosecution, Dr. Teltumbde delivered a “provocative presentation” and speeches on December 31, 2017, during an event at Shaniwarwada in Pune, which led to the violence at Bhima-Koregaon in January 2018, fuelled an agitation across Maharashtra and loss of life.
NIA has alleged Dr. Teltumbde was the convenor of the programme and his mobile phone call data records showed that he was in touch with the other arrested accused present at the event.
Earlier, on January 1, 2018, violence erupted between Dalits and Marathas near the village of Bhima Koregaon in Pune district, where thousands of Dalits had gathered to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon.
In the battle, the British Army’s Dalit Mahar soldiers had defeated the Brahmin Peshwa rulers of the Maratha empire.
The commemoration took place a day after an event in Pune called the Elgar Parishad was held.
The Pune Police conducted a preliminary probe and claimed that the violence in Bhima Koregaon was the result of speeches made at the Elgar Parishad event.
They alleged that banned Maoist groups organised the event, and a first information report (FIR) was also filed.
In June 2018, the Pune Police arrested five activists and lawyers from Pune, Nagpur, and Delhi – Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, and Shoma Sen – for their alleged links to the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and also for organising the Elgar Parishad event.
In August 2018, the police arrested four more activists – Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, and P Varavara Rao.
While Gautam Navlakha and Dr. Teltumbde were arrested on April 14 this year, taking the total number of the accused in the case to 11.
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