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Bhima Koregaon Case : Bombay High Court Reserves Order On Surendra Gadling's Bail Plea To Attend Mother's Death Anniversary

Sharmeen Hakim
26 July 2021 11:48 AM GMT
Bhima Koregaon Case : Bombay High Court Reserves Order On Surendra Gadlings Bail Plea To Attend Mothers Death Anniversary
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The Bombay High Court on Monday reserved for orders the temporary bail appeal of Bhima Koregaon- Elgar Parishad Case accused – Advocate Surendra Gadling to perform his mother's funeral rites on her first death anniversary on August 15, 2021. A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar said they would pronounce the order on July 30 2021, after hearing submissions...

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The Bombay High Court on Monday reserved for orders the temporary bail appeal of Bhima Koregaon- Elgar Parishad Case accused – Advocate Surendra Gadling to perform his mother's funeral rites on her first death anniversary on August 15, 2021.

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar said they would pronounce the order on July 30 2021, after hearing submissions from Senior Advocate Indira Jaising for Gadling and advocate Sandesh Patil for NIA.

Gadling was arrested in the case three years ago on June 6, 2018, and booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for alleged CPI(Maoist) links.

Gadling filed an appeal under Section 21 (4) of the NIA Act challenging the Special Judge DE Kothalikar's order, refusing him emergency bail after his mother's demise due to Covid last year.

Jaising submitted that since his family members were either hospitalised with Covid or under home isolation, in August 2020, his mother's funeral rites (cooling of ashes), rituals, and condolence meetings remain pending. However, the family has decided to perform these on her first death anniversary on August 15, 2021.

"The delay was not on my part ... I had filed the plea on time and even the appeal immediately. He can be granted bail on humanitarian grounds. I have to say that the court was in error in refusing him bail and restitution must be done," she argued.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) opposed the application stating that Gadling was booked under serious offences. Moreover, his reasons for temporary bail, on account of his mother's unfortunate death, do not survive, and he was not allowed to assign new reasons in an appeal.

The NIA called Gadling's appeal for release a "gross abuse" of the process of law and the Court's precious time.

Advocate Sandesh Patil for NIA said, "Especially since the incident dates back to August 2020. Moreover, he had not provided the relevant documents. The question is, do the reasons for granting bail survive today? He says he wants to join the family for the last rituals, but the cremation is over. My humble submission is that the appeal should be dismissed."

On September 11, 2021, Special NIA Judge rejected Gadling's emergency bail application, accepting NIA's submissions that three weeks had already passed since his mother's demise; therefore, he would not be required for performing the funeral rites or rituals.

Gadling claimed that the judge failed to consider his three-year-long incarceration. In addition, not allowing him to share his grief with his family members only affects his mental condition, he argued.

Gadling was booked under sections 121, 121A, 124A, 153A, 505(1)(b), 117, 120b r/w 34 of the IPC and sections 13,16,17,18,18-B,20,38,39 and 40 of the UAPA along with 14 other activists. Father Stan Swamy, the 16th accused to be arrested, passed away on July 5, awaiting bail.

The NIA has accused them of a plot to overthrow the Government, being members of front organisations of the banned CPI(Maoists). However, the arrested activists claim that incriminating material was planted on Gadling and co-accused researcher Rona Wilson's laptop, based on an independent forensic analysis firm's report.  

The Bhima Koregaon Case

The Bhima Koregaon battle was fought between 25,000 mighty Peshwa army and 500 British soldiers, including people from the Mahar (Dalit) community. The names of martyrs in the war are inscribed in the 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 mainly from the Dalit community, and one died in the stone-pelting.

An FIR was registered regarding the violence the same day. However, another FIR by right-wing activist Tushar Damgude was filed on January 8, 2018, and 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 resulted from 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. The email was part of the documents investigated by Arsenal earlier.

The 15 people accused in the case are as follows — 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.

Most of the accused in the case were neither named in the FIR over the violence nor present during the 2017 event.

Charges are yet to be framed in the case.


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