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Bombay HC reserves order on Gautam Navlakha's plea for quashing of FIR against him in Bhima Koregaon case

Nitish Kashyap
27 July 2019 1:18 AM GMT
Bombay HC reserves order on Gautam Navlakhas plea for quashing of FIR against him in Bhima Koregaon case
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The Bombay High Court on Friday reserved its order in Gautam Navlakha's writ seeking to quash the FIR filed against him by the Pune police following the Bhima Koregaon violence that took place on January 1, 2018.

Division bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharati Dangre extended the relief of protection from arrest granted to the 65-year-old activist until an order is pronounced in the case.

Pune police had sought the stay on Navlakha's arrest to be vacated but the Court refused to do so.

The bench noted that based on some of the evidence on record, Navlakha seemed innocent while there was other material that needs to be examined. We will apply our mind and pass an order, Justice More said.

Last month, during the course of the hearing, the bench referring to letters allegedly recovered from Navlakha's laptop 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."

Then, APP Aruna Pai had sought permission to submit some more material in a sealed envelope. Court perused through the same and Navlakha's counsel Dr. Yug Chaudhary opposed this course of action and sought access to the material on which State was relying upon.

On Wednesday's hearing, Pai referred to the same material submitted before the bench in a sealed cover and alleged that Police had proof that Navlakha was a pat of Naxal groups and was also in touch with the terrorist group Hizbul Mujahideen.

Allegedly, it is revealed in a letter written by Maoist leader Sudarshan to Navlakha, that the petitioner met a leader of the Islamic students' movement in Kashmir, conveyed support to Hizbul Mujahideen and Kashmiri separatists through him.

Navlakha helped in strengthening the cadre of CPI (Maoist), Pai submitted.

Petitioner's lawyer Dr.Yug Mohit Chaudhary argued that serious charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act cannot be pressed against Navlakha based on unsigned letters allegedly recovered from his client's laptop.

Previously, Dr.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 have alleged that the violence took place as a result of a conclave organized by Elgar Parishad on December 31, 2017. The conclave was organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Koregaon Bhima that took place between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha empire. 

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