The Bombay High Court on Friday granted interim protection from arrest to journalist and activist Gautam Navlakha, accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, who has been seeking anticipatory bail ever since the Supreme Court refused to extend the interim protection from arrest granted to him earlier and asked him to seek relief before the Sessions Court.
Sessions Court on Tuesday rejected Navlakha's application noting that custodial interrogation was necessary as the police had been trying to arrest him since 2018. Thereafter, Navlakha moved High Court the next day.
Justice PD Naik heard Navlakha's anticipatory bail application and granted him protection from arrest till the next date of hearing, ie, December 2.
Before the Sessions Court, Navlakha had approached High Court as his protection from arrest was set to expire on November 12 but on November 4, Justice Naik had asked Navlakha to go to the Sessions Court first and passed directions to the lower court to decide the matter expeditiously.
Navlakha along with the other accused has been chargesheeted by the Pune Police for commission of offences punishable under Sections 121, 121A, 124A, 153A, 505(1)(b), 117, 120B read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code and under Sections 13, 16, 17, 18, 18B, 20, 38, 39, 40 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, as amended in 2008 and 2012.
Prosecution had argued before the Sessions Court that Navlakha was not only a member of CPI(Maoist), but he was an active leader of the banned organisation.
67-year-old Navlakha has been accused by the Pune police of being involved in instigating the caste-based violence that took place at Koregaon Bhima on January 1, 2018. Supreme Court had extended the protection from arrest granted to Navlakha for four weeks on October 15 after Bombay High Court refused to quash the FIR against him.