Elgar Parishad case: Activist Gautam Navlakha’s bail plea rejected, NIA to get 10-day custodyUpdated: Jul 13, 2020 02:00 IST
The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Sunday refused to grant a ‘default’ bail to civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha in the Elgar Parishad case. The court also granted NIA his custody for 10 days for interrogation.
The special court pronounced the order on the plea of NIA, in which the central agency sought an extension of the 90-day period to file a charge sheet against Navlakha and another accused, activist Dr Anand Teltumbde. The NIA claimed that its officers were unable to investigate properly owing to the Covid-19 outbreak. The agency also sought Navlakha’s custody on the grounds that they need to interrogate him to “unearth the conspiracy”.
Navlakha sought a bail claiming that NIA failed to file a charge sheet against him within the stipulated period of 90 days. All the three applications were heard together by the court.
Navlakha was arrested in Delhi by the Pune Police on August 28, 2018, but his arrest was quashed by the Delhi high court. However, after the arrest was challenged, Navlakha and some other accused were put under house arrest from August 29 till October 1, 2018. This year in April, Navlakha and Teltumbde were arrested again.
Under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the agency gets a total period of 180 days to investigate a case and file a charge sheet. However, after the completion of 90 days, the agency has to show the progress in the investigation to seek an extension of 90 more days.
While seeking a default bail, Navlakha’s lawyers claimed that the period during which he was put under house arrest should also be considered as period of detention for calculating 90 days.
The court, however, refused to accept the contention, observing that the period of house arrest cannot be included in the period of detention. The court also held that during the period of house arrest, Navlakha was never under the detention of police for investigation.
After rejecting his bail plea, the court directed the Taloja prison authorities to hand over Navlakha’s custody to NIA from July 13 till July 22. The agency is directed to produce Navlakha before the special court on July 22. Meanwhile, the court also gave 90 more days to NIA to investigate the case and file a charge sheet against Navlakha and Teltumbde.