Bhima-Koregaon riots Other States

Four-day police custody for Milind Ekbote

Pune: A court in Shirur Taluk in Pune district on Wednesday sent Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote, prime accused of orchestrating the Bhima-Koregaon riots of January 1, to four days police custody.

The order by the Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) in Shirur was based on a complaint lodged under Section 307 (attempt to murder) and other sections under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Maharashtra Property Damage Act at Shikrapur police station.

However, in a parallel development later in the day, the Pune district and sessions court granted bail to Mr. Ekbote.

In response, advocates Tosif Shaikh and Kumar Kalel moved an application under section 14 (a) of the Prevention of Atrocities Amendment Act, 2015, requesting a stay in the bail to Mr. Ekbote. The next hearing on the application has been scheduled for April 5.

“We will move the Bombay High Court to seek the quashing of Ekbote’s bail and have accordingly filed an application in the Pune sessions court today,” Mr. Shaikh told The Hindu.

He further said that the prosecution had argued that the Hindutva leader had been stirring up religious tensions since 1995 and had at least 23 cases against him for disrupting peace and communal harmony.

Earlier on March 29, Mr. Shaikh had filed an intervention application on behalf of Anjana Gaikwad, who claimed to be a victim of the riots, opposing Mr. Ekbote’s bail. Ms. Gaikwad, and another person Anita Salvi, had filed the first complaint against Ekbote and octogenarian Hindutva leader Sambhaji Bhide ‘Guruji’, accusing them of inciting violence during the bicentenary celebrations of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon.

Last month, another individual, Sanjay Bhalerao, who claimed to be a victim of the clashes, had moved the Sessions Court seeking the rejection of Ekbote’s bail plea and a video-recording of the court proceedings among other reliefs like police protection for the victims.

Mr. Ekbote, who has a rash of charges against him following the Bhima-Koregaon riots of January 1 this year, was finally arrested by a team of the Pune Rural Police on March 14 after the Supreme Court cancelled his interim bail relief.

Two FIRs were lodged against Ekbote - who is executive president of the fringe Hindutva outfit ‘Samasta Hindu Aghadi’- and Bhide (who heads the fringe outfit ‘Shiv Pratishthan Hindustan’) for orchestrating the riots which left one person dead.

Mr. Ekbote’s anticipatory bail application was rejected by the Pune Sessions court on January 22 and again by the Bombay High Court on February 2.

On February 6, the Pune sessions court had issued an arrest warrant for the rightwing leader, who then moved the Supreme Court for interim bail the next day (on February 7) which was granted to him.

However, on March 14, the apex court cancelled any further extensions of Ekbote’s interim relief, following which the Pune police arrested him.

Accordingly, the Pune District and Sessions court directed Mr. Ekbote to be sent to police custody till March 19. After a two-day extension, he was sent to a 14-day judicial custody (on March 21) whose duration expired today.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 5:41:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/four-day-police-custody-for-milind-ekbote/article23437848.ece

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