Bhima Koregaon violence: Activists Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde get further relief; Bombay HC extends protection from arrest

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court Friday extended till January 10 the interim protection from arrest granted to activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case.

A bench of Justices BP Dharmadhikari and Sarang Kotwal also restrained police from arresting activist and co-accused Anand Teltumbde till 17 December.

 Bhima Koregaon violence: Activists Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde get further relief; Bombay HC extends protection from arrest

File photo of Gautam Navlakha. PTI

The bench said it will hear in detail the arguments on Teltumbde's petition seeking quashing of the FIR.

The court, however, refused to grant any interim relief to activist Stan Swamy who too has been named in the FIR but is yet to be arrested.

Pune Police who are probing the case informed the court that Swamy was still being treated as a "suspect" and not an accused. The judges said, in that case, he could not be granted any protection.

Navlakha, Teltumbde, and Swamy have moved the high court seeking that the FIR against them be quashed.

Navlakha was arrested in August this year along with Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves, all left-wing activists.

Police alleged that they had links with the Maoists who had backed the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on 31 December, 2017.

Inflammatory speeches at the conclave led to violence at the Bhima Koregaon war memorial in Pune district the next day, the police claimed.

The Delhi High Court, however, ordered Navlakha's release. The other four got temporary relief from the Supreme Court which directed police to put them under house arrest while it heard petitions opposing the action against them.

Later, as the SC refused to stop the probe, they were taken into custody by Pune Police.

In October, another FIR was registered by Pune Police in the same case, naming eight more activists including Teltumbdeand Swamy who are yet to be arrested.

The Maharashtra government has filed a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the apex court against the Delhi HC order in Navlakha's case. He informed the bench that the SC is slated to hear it on January 10.

The bench noted that at the previous hearing, the state government had "given an impression to SC that he (Navlakha) would not be arrested till January 10".

It, therefore, dismissed the government's argument opposing interim relief for Navlakha.

"You gave a certain impression to the SC. We cannot override that," the judges said.

Prosecutor Aruna Kamat-Pai argued earlier that police had "enough material evidence" against Navlakha and hence he should not get interim protection.

Updated Date: Dec 14, 2018 20:09:05 IST