Bhima Koregaon arrests: SC stays Bombay HC order disallowing Pune Police more time to file charges against 5 activists

The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the Bombay High Court order refusing to give the Pune Police 90 extra days to complete its investigation and file a chargesheet against activists being investigated in the Bhima Koregaon case.

The Maharashtra government, which had challenged this high court order, told the top court bench that the police is likely to file the chargesheet against the activists in another 10 days, News18 reported. The bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also issued notice to the activists, according to LiveLaw.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

On 25 October, the Bombay High Court had junked a Pune court's order, which had granted the police more time to file the chargesheet against five activists — Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut — who were arrested in June for alleged Maoist links in the aftermath of the violence at Bhima Koregaon village near Pune on New Year's Day. The activists had been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Gadling had challenged the Pune court's order extending the time given to the police to file the chargesheet and the consequent refusal of bail to him. He argued that the prosecution had failed to follow the due procedure while seeking the extension.

Hearing another appeal filed by the Maharashtra government, the Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to activist Gautam Navlakha, also being investigated in the Bhima Koregaon case. The Maharashtra government had challenged the Delhi High Court order setting aside his transit remand and releasing him from house arrest, calling the order "illegal".

Navlakha was among the five activists — including Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj — who were arrested by the Pune Police after the pan-India crackdown on 28 August. They were put under house arrest after a Supreme Court order on the plea by historian Romila Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpande and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala against the police action.

On 1 January this year, violence had erupted at an event meant to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle, in which British forces defeated the Peshwa Army on 1 January, 1818. The violence led to the death of one person and injuries to several others, including 10 policemen.


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Updated Date: Oct 29, 2018 12:20 PM

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