Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde surrender before NIA in Bhima Koregaon case
Human rights activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde surrendered in the Bhima Koregaon case on Tuesday following a Supreme Court directive. Navlakha surrendered before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Delhi while Teltumbde surrendered in Mumbai where he was taken into custody by the anti-terror agency.
Navlakha, Teltumbde and several other activists were booked for their alleged Maoist links and several other charges following the violence at Koregaon Bhima village in Pune district on January 1, 2018. Bhima Koregaon probe was recently transferred to the central agency.
A senior official, who didn’t wish to be named, said Gautam Navlakha will be arrested by evening and produced before a court in Delhi on Wednesday.
“We have sufficient evidence” against both Navlakha and Teltumbde in the Bhima Koregaon case, he said.
The officer added that the Pune Police had collected some evidence against the two while the NIA was further investigating their presence at the Elgar Parishad and evaluating the technical evidence.
The evening before coming to the NIA office for surrender, Anant Teltumbde, who is also a professor at the Goa Institute of Management, penned an open letter; in which he stated - “In my voluminous writings comprising over 30 books, and numerous papers, articles, comments, columns, interviews, published internationally, not an insinuation of support to violence or any subversive movement could be found. But at the fag end of my life, I am being charged with heinous crimes under the draconian UAPA (unlawful activities prevention act)”.
Gautam Navlakha said in a statement: “My hope rests on a speedy and fair trial for myself and all fellow co-accused. This alone will enable me to clear my name, and walk free, having also used the time in jail to rid myself of acquired habits”.
Navlakha and Teltumbde were directed by SC to surrender within three weeks but he had moved a plea last week seeking an extension the coronavirus outbreak. The SC, however, rejected the application and asked them to surrender within a week.