High Court rejects bail to Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira
The activists were arrested by Pune police on October 27, 2018 on a charge of being part of a banned Maoist organisation and inciting violence after the Elgar Parishad held at Pune.Updated: Oct 15, 2019 11:50 IST
The Bombay high court on Tuesday rejected bail pleas of activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira arrested by Pune police for allegedly inciting violence at Bhima Koregaon in Pune district on January 1, 2018.
Justice Sarang Kotwal on Tuesday rejected bail applications filed by the three.
They were arrested by Pune police on October 27, 2018 on a charge of being part of a banned Maoist organisation and inciting violence after the Elgar Parishad held at Pune.
According to the police, the speeches made at Elgar Parishad held on December 31, 2017 fuelled violence near Koregaon Bhima war memorial the next day. Police suspect the conference was funded by Maoists.
Pune police claimed that call data records of three accused showed that they were in constant touch with others arrested in the case, Surendra Gadling and Rona Wilson.
Police also claimed the three activists were members of organisations that were acting as frontal groups for Communist Party of India (Maoist) and were also involved in recruiting cadre for the banned group.
These organizations include the Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), Committee for Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), Persecuted Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPSC) and Anuradha Gandhi Memorial Committee (AGMC).
Ferreira’s lawyer had argued that there was no evidence to link the activists to the purported violence or the conspiracy alleged by the police. “Ferreira may have been inspired by Marxist or Leninist ideology, but that cannot be a ground to incriminate him in connection with the purported conspiracies hatched by the banned group,” his lawyer, advocate Sudeep Pasbola had argued.
Pasbola had also argued that the police had booked Ferreira for allegedly assisting co-accused Surendra Gadling, who represented Delhi University professor, GN Saibaba. Saibaba has been convicted to life imprisonment for having Maoist links in 2017.
It was argued on behalf of Sudha Bharadwaj that the professor at National Law University, Delhi, was implicated merely because she was an office bearer of IAPL and Pune police had failed to produce any material to establish her involvement in the Bhima Koregaon. Besides, the documents produced by police against her were inadmissible as evidence for being unverified and unsigned.
Vernon Gonsalves’ lawyer too claimed that there was no direct evidence against him and he therefore deserved to be released on bail.