21 Sep 2023 6:04 AM GMT
No Materials Prima Facie Indicating UAPA Offences Against Mahesh Raut : Bombay High Court In Bhima Koregaon CaseThe Bombay High Court granted bail to Mahesh Raut an accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parishad larger conspiracy case making him the sixth person to get bail in this case. However, the High Court stayed the order granting bail for one week at the request of the...
No Materials Prima Facie Indicating UAPA Offences Against Mahesh Raut : Bombay High Court In Bhima Koregaon CaseThe Bombay High Court granted bail to Mahesh Raut an accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parishad larger conspiracy case making him the sixth person to get bail in this case. However, the High Court stayed the order granting bail for one week at the request of the National Investigating Agency (NIA), which sought for a stay of two weeks.
Raut, a tribal rights activist, was arrested on June 6, 2018 in the case over alleged links with Maoists and has been behind the bars since then.
A division bench comprising Justices AS Gadkari and Sharmila Deshmukh was of the view that several Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) provisions under which Raut was charged are prima facie inapplicable. However, a detailed copy of the order is yet to be made available.
Senior Advocate Mihir Desai, representing Raut had argued that his client was not a member of the banned CPI(Maoist) outfit as claimed by NIA but in fact was a recipient of the Prime Minister's Fellowship. He is an activist working for adivasis in Gadchiroli.
The NIA represented by Additional Solicitor General Devang Vyas and advocate Sandesh Patil argued that there was a larger conspiracy to wage war against the country and that should be considered and his bail was rightly rejected by the trial court.
Moreover, they claimed there was evidence to should the CPI (Maoist) had given Raut Rs 5 lakh along with co-accused Surendra Gadling and Sudhir Dhawale, who were also arrested in the case. The agency claimed sufficient evidence to demonstrate Raut had participated in panchayat meetings in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli area.
"The whole ideology of Naxalism revolves around the idea that it views a democratically elected government as the enemy and considers those of their own killed as martyrs. They mobilise and mislead the youth," NIA said.
While Vyas claimed the party "created a scenario that led to violence at Bhima Koregaon where a person was killed." In response, the bench clarified, 'There was no intention to ‘kill’ the person. The person died in the riots.'
The Bhima Koregaon battle was fought between 25,000 Peshwa army and 500 British soldiers including people from the Mahar (Dalit) community. The names of martyrs in the war are inscribed in a memorial by the British Army back then.
The hundreds of people visiting the war memorial at Bhima Koregaon were attacked on January 1, 2018, after violence erupted. They were mostly from Dalit community and one person died in the stone-pelting.
An FIR was registered regarding the violence the same day.
Another FIR by right wing activist Tushar Damgude, filed on January 8, 2018 was pursued. The houses of several activists, including Rona Wilson's and advocate Surendra Gadling were searched on April 17, 2018. It was alleged that the violence at Bhima Koregaon was a result of inflammatory speeches held at the Elgaar Parishad conference, on December 31, 2017.
The scope of the investigation was eventually widened, with the Pune police claiming retrieval of incriminating documents in the form of electronic records. This included an email written by a certain 'R' to Comrade Prakash on April 18, 2017 talking of a "Rajiv Gandhi-type" operation.
Sixteen people have been charge sheeted in the case as accused — Jyoti Raghoba Jagtap, Sagar Tatyaram Gorkhe, Ramesh Murlidhar Gaichor, Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Hany Babu and late Father Stan Swamy.
However the trial is yet to begin. Of them, 8 are still in prison and Father Stan Swamy has passed away.
For detailed report about the judgment, read -No Materials Prima Facie Indicating UAPA Offences Against Mahesh Raut : Bombay High Court In Bhima Koregaon Case
Click here to read the judgment