Bhima Koregaon : Bombay HC Dismisses Gautam Navlakha's Petition for Quashing FIR
The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed a writ petition filed by human rights activist and journalist Gautam Navlakha seeking quashing of an FIR registered against him by Pune police alleging his involvement in inciting the violence at Koregaon Bhima in Pune on January 1, 2018.
The Court observed that there was prima facie material against the 65-year-old referring to the document submitted in a sealed envelope by Additional Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai. The said document allegedly contained additional material against Navlakha.
The division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharati Dangre has however extended the protection from arrest granted to Navlakha for three weeks after his counsel Dr.Yug Chaudhary sought stay on the said judgement in order to filed an appeal before the Supreme Court.
The bench had reserved it's judgement in July and granted Navlakha protection from arrest. On Friday, delivering the judgement in-chamber, Justice More read out-
"Based on the documents submitted before us in a sealed envelope, we are convinced there is a prima facie case against Navlakha.
Considering the nature and magnitude of conspiracy, the investigating agency needs time to further probe the case as it is not restricted to the Bhima Koregaon incident alone."
In June, during the course of hearing in the said writ petition, the same bench referring to letters allegedly recovered from Navlakha's laptop had said-
"There is nothing against him (Navlakha) in any of the letters. We are of the prima facie opinion that there is nothing against him based on the documents submitted to us."
Thereafter, APP Aruna Pai had sought permission to submit some more material against Navlakha in a sealed envelope. Court accepted the submission and perused through the documents in the envelope and Dr. Yug Chaudhary opposed this course of action and sought access to the material on which State was relying upon.
Chaudhary had argued-
"Navlakha has made democracy possible for those living in the margins. Such a person should be cherished and celebrated. But the government is persecuting him with charges like waging war against the nation and sedition."
Pune police registered an FIR against Navlakha under various provisions of IPC and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act alleging that he was working with Maoists and helped organize the Elgar parishad conclave a day prior to the violence that occurred at Koregaon Bhima.