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Bhima Koregaon: court denies bail to 6 activists

They were arrested in June last year

A Pune sessions court on Wednesday rejected the bail pleas of six persons — advocate Surendra Gadling, former university professors Shoma Sen, activists Rona Wilson and Mahesh Raut, Dalit writer Sudhir Dhawale and poet P. Varavara Rao — being held for their alleged links with the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) and their purported roles in the ‘Elgaar Parishad’ and Bhima Koregaon clashes.

Rejecting the bail applications, additional sessions judge S.R. Navandar observed that the material collected by the investigating officer revealed the involvement of the accused in allegedly unlawful activities inimical to the country’s security and against “not only the established government of the day, but against democracy itself”.

Judge Navandar added that he was not going into whether the evidence (submitted by the police) was admissible or not at this stage, and that that question would only be decided when the trial commenced.

The detained persons’ defence counsels said while the court’s order was ‘disappointing’ it was hardly a surprise. Mr. Gadling, Ms. Sen, Mr. Dhawale, Mr. Raut and Mr. Wilson were arrested on June 6 last year.

“It has taken the court a year-and-a-half to pass the order on the activists’ bail pleas in direct violation to the Supreme Court’s directives on bail,” said Nihalsing Rathod, one of the defence counsel. “So, besides this being a clear case of ‘justice delayed is justice denied’, we do not even know the veracity of these allegedly incriminating documents submitted by the police,” he added.

Commenting on the rejection of the bail pleas, Mr. Rathod asserted that the manner in which the material produced by the probe agencies was being accepted by the courts meant that just about anything written on a piece of paper could be interpreted as a threat to national security.

“In this case, there was no assessment on the genuineness of the documents produced by the police in accordance with the rules of the IT Act,” he observed.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 7:24:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bhima-koregaon-court-denies-bail-to-6-activists/article29906585.ece

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