The special NIA lockdown court on Saturday rejected the temporary bail plea filed by Dalit scholar and academic Anand Teltumbde in a case pertaining to the 2018 Bhima-Koregaon violence, and remanded him to judicial custody till May 8.
Special judge D.E. Kothalikar, in-charge of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court, was hearing Dr. Teltumbde’s plea that sought bail on medical grounds in the wake of novel coronavirus pandemic. He said he was suffering from respiratory problems and hence was more vulnerable to contract COVID-19.
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The court rejected the bail after special public prosecutor Prakash Shetty opposed the same. The court also said, “There is material on record for remanding his to judicial custody. Hence, he is remanded to judicial custody till May 8.”
Dr. Teltumbde in Mumbai NIA’s custody, where an Assistant Sub-Inspector of the agency has tested positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Teltumbde, an engineer, CEO of Petronet India Limited, and IIM graduate who taught in the Indian Institute of Technology, was booked in the Elgar Parishad case for his alleged links to the banned Communist Party of India (Maoists), had been remanded to NIA custody till April 25 after he surrendered in Mumbai on April 14.
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Earlier, the NIA had claimed that Dr. Teltumbde’s mobile phone call data records showed he was in contact with people accused in the case and that ‘he was present at the place of offence on relevant period’.
The agency also claimed that Dr Teltumbde was the convenor of the programme, and that he had received funds from CPI (Maoists), and also claimed that electronic articles seized showed his complicity.
Dr Teltumbde and nine others were booked by Pune police where an offence was registered on January 8, 2018, alleging that members of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and Kabir Kala Manch spread hatred through provocative songs, plays and speeches delivered at Elgar Parishad held at Shaniwar Wada on December 31, 2017, which led to violence following the incident at Bhima-Koregaon. The case was later transferred to NIA on January 24, 2020.