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Bhima-Koregaon case: SC sets aside HC order refusing police 90-day time to file charge sheet against Gadling, others

In this file photo Surendra Gadling seen addressing media during the Pune police raid at his residence in Nagpur.   | Photo Credit: S. Sudarshan

The Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside a Bombay High Court order refusing the Maharashtra police a 90-day extension to complete the investigation and file charge sheet against lawyer Surendra Gadling and others accused of Maoist links in the aftermath of the Bhima-Koregaon violence.

Mr. Gadling will not be eligible for default bail now. The High Court order on October 24 had opened the window for Mr. Gadling, Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen, activists Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson to seek default bail. They were arrested on June 6 by the Pune Police and a case was registered against them under the various provisions of The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and the Indian Penal Code.

“The police started the investigation but could not complete the same. On September 3, 90 days were completed since the date of arrest of the respondents,” the Maharashtra government petition filed through State counsel Nishant Katneshwarkar said.

The petition argued that under Section 43-D (2) of the UAPA Act, the trial court may, on the report of the public prosecutor, extend the detention of the accused for another 90 days. On September 2, the trial court had allowed an extension of 90 days, following which Mr. Gadling and the others moved the High Court, which set aside the trial court order. The HC however stayed its order till November 1 to give the State time to appeal the Supreme Court.

The State government argued that the HC resorted to a “pedantic view rather than resorting to a pragmatic view”. The HC concluded that the report for the 90-day extension of detention was filed before the Sessions Judge by the case investigating officer instead of the public prosecutor as required by law.

“The public prosecutor, by way of abundant precaution, took signature of the investigating officer. But the High Court was carried away by the fact of signature of the investigating officer and arrived at a conclusion that the report/application was not by the public prosecutor,” the State government contended in the special leave petition.

The State submitted the HC was “carried away” by a reference made by the Sessions Judge that the application for extension was “filed by investigating officer”.

“It appears that more the State took precaution to file the report/application for extension of time to complete the investigation, the more the High Court considered it as improper and thereby passed the impugned order,” the State had complained to the Supreme Court.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 8:17:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bhima-koregaon-case-sc-sets-aside-bombay-hc-order-refusing-maharashtra-police-90-days-extension-to-file-chargesheet-against-gadling/article26256250.ece

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