PUDR sees ‘malafide intentions’ in NIA taking Navlakha to Mumbai

Gautam Navlakha. File photo

Gautam Navlakha. File photo   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

NIA’s actions had rendered his bail application in Delhi meaningless, it says

The People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) on Friday said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) “surreptitiously” whisked away activist Gautam Navlakha from Tihar Jail to Mumbai on Monday and it was a “secretive action” that reeked of “malafide intentions”.

Mr. Navlakha was lodged in Tihar Jail on April 25 after he surrendered to the NIA in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. The Delhi High Court had heard his bail application citing his ailments, age and the growing fear of the spread of COVID-19 in the jail on May 22 and asked the prosecution to submit a report by May 26, the PUDR said in a statement.

“The NIA had assured the court that all necessary measures would be taken to keep Mr. Navlakha safe in the prison,” it noted.

On May 23, the NIA applied for and got another one month of judicial remand of Mr. Navlakha till June 22. “On May 24, Mr. Navlakha informed his family that he had been given a single cell in keeping with his medical condition. On May 24 itself, which was a Sunday, the NIA obtained from the Special Court at Greater Mumbai, without informing him or his lawyers, an order for his production at Mumbai.” The application was not available, the statement said.

“It cannot be ascertained whether the Mumbai court was informed of the interim bail matter to be heard on May 27 in the context of his health and the ongoingCOVID-19 pandemic,” it stated.

Mr. Navlakha then informed his family on May 26 that he had been brought to Mumbai in an overnight train from Delhi and produced before an NIA court. “The proceedings at the Mumbai court also took place in the absence of his lawyers. Mr. Navlakha was directed to be sent to Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai, where at least one death has occurred due to COVID-19,” the PUDR said.

The NIA’s actions had rendered Mr. Navlakha’s bail application in Delhi meaningless. “Despite undertaking before the High Court to the contrary, the NIA has put Mr. Navlakha’s health at risk by subjecting him to unwarranted exposure and transferring him to the state and city that is facing the COVID-19 crisis in the most serious manner. His communication with his family does not suggest that he received necessary prescription and medicines for his travel to Mumbai,” it said.

The PUDR added that it hoped judicial authorities would take cognisance of the actions of the NIA and pass necessary orders to reverse them.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 9:26:46 AM |

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