In a relief to human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, civil rights activist and writer Anand Teltumbde, tribal rights activist Father Stan Swamy, the Bombay High Court has granted them protection from arrest till December 14 in the case regarding violence that took place at Bhima-Koregaon in Pune on January 1.
The court had previously granted similar relief to the trio, who, according to the Maharashtra Police, had close links with Naxalites.
A division bench of Justice BP Dharmadhikari and Justice SV Kotwal was hearing writ petitions filed by Navlakha, Teltumbde and Swamy challenging the FIR against them. The court directed the prosecution to file an affidavit containing details of the probe being conducted by the Pune police by December 5.
Senior Counsel Mihir Desai appears on behalf of Teltumbde and Swamy, whereas advocate Yug Mohit Chaudhary appears on behalf of Navlakha.
According to the chargesheet filed by Pune police in the case, the Elgar Parishad Conclave organized on December 31, 2017 led by retired Justice Suresh Hosbet was backed by Naxalites and inflammatory and inciting speeches were made at the event which allegedly led to the violence at Bhima-Koregaon on January 1, 2018.
Although, the Pune police registered a FIR on the next day of the violence and arrested Milind Ekbote for leading the violence that took place, the investigation took a sudden turn after second FIR in the case was filed by a businessman Tushar Damgude who had alleged that the conclave organized by Elgar Parishad had led to the violence at Bhima-Koregaon.
Aruna S Pai, appearing on behalf of the State, contested the petitions and stated that the police had enough material against Gautam Navlakha, however, the same cannot be made public. The bench took exception to this and directed the State to file an affidavit detailing at what stage the investigation was and why the details cannot be made public.
All three petitioners were directed to file a counter affidavit within one week of the State’s affidavit.