The Bombay High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a plea filed by four accused in the Bhima Koregaon caste violence case seeking default bail.
A Division Bench of Justices A.S. Gadkari and P.D. Naik was hearing a plea filed by Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson, all arrested on June 6, 2018. The court directed the Central agency to file its response in three weeks.
The petitioners have challenged an order of the special court in Pune under the Act, rejecting their default bail applications of 2019.
“In August 2018, the investigation officer in the case had filed an application to extend the time to file a chargesheet against them and next month a Pune sessions judge granted him an extension of time to file the chargesheet,” they contend.
According to them, the special judge granted an extension to the Central agency without having the jurisdiction to do so. “The court failed to appreciate the law regarding grant of default bail as also effect of actions of the additional sessions court at Pune which lacked jurisdiction itself. The special court, in its order, has failed to appreciate the effect of the verdict given by the division bench of this Court by which the accused had prayed for default bail,” the plea stated.
The petitioners are also seeking bail on grounds of parity as co-accused in the case. Sudha Bharadwaj was granted bail on December 1, 2021 by the Bombay High Court. Her default bail was also filed on grounds that the judge did not have the jurisdiction to reject default bails.
The same Bench of the High Court also directed the NIA to reply if another co-accused, Surendra Gadling, currently lodged at Taloja Central Jail, should argue his own default bail application in court.