Bhima Koregaon: bail terms of Hindutva leader Ekbote relaxed
Milind Ekbote, president, Samasta Hindu Aghadi who was accused in one of the cases of Bhima Koregaon violence, was granted relief by a court in Pune by relaxing his bail conditions regarding weekly attendance at police station, speaking in public rallies and talking to the media. The order was passed by additional sessions judge A.N Sirsikar on Tuesday.
Ekbote was booked under the SC/ST ( Prevention of Atrocity Act ) following an FIR ( First Information Report ) lodged against him by Anita Savale, a Dalit political activist after violent clashes took place in the aftermath of the 200th anniversary of Bhima Koregaon celebrations on January 1, 2018.
Ekbote was arrested by the Pune rural police on March 14, 2018 after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the Supreme Court. The court however granted him bail on April 14 on certain conditions that he shall not pressurise the witnesses; shall not keep contact with the victim, shall submit his passport before the investigating agency within eight days from the order, if any and shall not give the speech publicly till further order.
The court had also prevented Ekbote from calling press conferences till further order and be available before the investigating officer on his call. He was directed not to leave India without prior permission of the court and attend the concerned police station on every Monday between 3.pm to 6.p.m regularly till further order.
The police had also arrested Ekbote in yet another case lodged by assistant police inspector (API) Nitin Shivaji Lakade, who sustained injuries during the violence on January 1, 2018.
Ekbote obtained bail on April 19 and was released from Yerawada jail. Later, Ekbote through his lawyers –Advocates S K Jain and Amol Dange, had moved an application before the court of seeking relaxation in bail.
Besides, Ekbote, Shivprathistan Hindustan leader Sambhaji Bhide was also made an accused in the case but he was not arrested. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has given his clean chit to the right wing Hindutva leader.
On January 2, the Pimpri police had registered a zero FIR against Ekbote and Bhide after a complaint was filed by Savale (39) a member of the Bahujan Republican Socialist Party.
Ekbote, along with Bhide, was booked for January 1, 2018 violence at Bhima Koregaon that left one person dead and angered Dalits, who then called a Maharashtra bandh. A former corporator from Pune, Ekbote and his followers have been in the news for cow vigilantism in Pune and neighbouring districts. Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh President Prakash Ambedkar had alleged that Ekbote and Bhide had instigated the riots against Dalits in Bhima Koregaon.