Other States

Navlakha, Teltumbde denied anticipatory bail

Gautam Navlakha.

Gautam Navlakha.  

HC gives them four weeks to approach Supreme Court

Eighteen months after the names of activist Gautam Navlakha and professor Anand Teltumbde were added to the Elgaar Parishad case, the Bombay High Court on Friday rejected their anticipatory bail pleas.

A single Bench of Justice P.D. Naik said that “prima facie there is material against the applicant to show his complicity in the crime. Thus even on the test of prima facie material involving the applicant in the crime, no case is made out for entertaining the application.”

However, the court gave four weeks’ time to Mr. Navlakha and Mr. Teltumbde to appeal against the order in the Supreme Court.

On August 22, 2018, the names of the two activists were added to the original FIR registered by Tushar Ramesh Damugade at Vishrambaug police station in Pune on December 31, 2017. The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act had been added to the FIR in May 2018.

The FIR alleged that members of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) were inciting violence by creating communal disharmony. It said members of Kabir Kala Manch, through songs, plays and speeches, spread enmity between different communities. As a result, there were instances of violence, arson and stone pelting at Bhima-Koregaon.

The prosecution claimed that searches at the residences and workplaces of activists Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhavale, Harshali Potdar, Sagar Gorkhe, Dipak Dhengale, Ramesh Gaychor and Jyoti Jagtap had yielded incriminating documents from their computers, laptops, pen drives and memory cards.

The lawyers for Mr. Navlakha and Mr. Teltumbde argued that there was no substantial material to link them with the case, and that electronic data that was inadmissible was being presented as evidence.

The court observed in its order that the defence counsels have pointed out that the mention of ‘Comrade Anand’ in any letter is not evidence enough to link Mr. Teltumbde.

But the Bench also noted that the special court in Pune had said in its order that “the court was satisfied that the investigating agency had some material to establish the identity of applicant as Anand or Comrade Anand, as referred to in the documents forming part of charge sheet … The stand that he was in Goa in last week of December 2017 and first week of January 2018, is belied by the material. The investigation was still in progress. Considering the nature and magnitude of the conspiracy, the investigating agency is required to be given sufficient opportunity.”

The Bench also said that according to the special court, the documents seized from the houses of some of the accused revealed a “deep-rooted conspiracy of extremely serious repercussions and the applicant (Navlakha) was a party to the said conspiracy.”

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 5:24:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/navlakha-teltumbde-denied-anticipatory-bail/article30825212.ece

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