Gautam Navlakha released from prison, arrives at Belapur for his house arrest
Prior to his arrival, his partner Sahba Hussain, a resident of Delhi, who is over 71 years old, arrived at around 2 pm where Navlakha will reside for a month
After a relentless court battle, 70-year-old civil rights activist and Elgar Parishad case accused Gautam Navlakha was released from Taloja Central Prison in Navi Mumbai on Saturday and finally arrived at his chosen abode.
He will now be placed under house arrest at a community hall in Belapur in Navi Mumbai owned by the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
His release comes a day after the Supreme Court dismissed a plea by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) seeking to vacate the order allowing his shifting.
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On Friday, the apex court bench directed that the order passed on November 10, which allowed the shifting of Navlakha from prison to house arrest, must be executed within 24 hours.
The NIA had objected to the house arrest citing security concerns over the chosen premises.
A bench of justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy gave NIA 24 hours to give effect to its earlier order after installing additional measures for securing the premises at Belapur in Navi Mumbai where Navlakha and his 71-year-old partner will be staying for a period of one month.
Paving a way for Navlakha’s release, the counsel for NIA Shrikant Sonkawade on Saturday informed the special court, about the compliance and proceeded to transfer Navlakha to house arrest.
In the report, the NIA said they have installed grills which will be locked from the outside and another gate has a CCTV camera and also the door will be sealed.
The court after receipt of the report directed the registry to immediately communicate with the prison superintendent at Taloja Prison and also the Navi Mumbai police commissioner.
The CPI (M) office cum library building in Belapur– Comrade B T Ranadive Smruti Trust – is located inside Agroli village. The first-floor room where Navlakha will now reside has been used over the years by top CPI(M) leaders like Sitaram Yechury.
Prior to his arrival, his partner Sahba Hussain, a resident of Delhi, who is over 71 years old, arrived at around 2 pm where Navlakha will reside for a month.
Around 15 police and NIA personnel were present at the location awaiting Navlakha’s arrival during the day. The bomb detection and dog squads too were deployed. A full body scanner has been installed at the gate leading to the first floor while security guards with hand-held detectors have been deployed at the main gate.
Navlakha arrived at his temporary residence in SUV escorted by another SUV of security personnel at 6 pm. He was escorted directly inside the building with the media being kept away.
The Supreme Court on November 10 allowed Navlakha to shift to house arrest for one month on account of his advanced age and poor health. He was ordered to be released from Taloja Jail to the house of his choice on furnishing a surety of ₹2 lakh.
The NIA arrested Navlakha in April 2020 in connection with the violence that took place at Bhima Koregaon in January 2018. The NIA booked him under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) accusing him of having links with the banned organisation Communist Party of India (Maoist).