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Elghar Parishad Case: Mumbai Special Court Rejects Gautam Navlakha's Plea For Default Bail

Nitish Kashyap
12 July 2020 4:00 PM GMT
Elghar Parishad Case: Mumbai Special Court Rejects Gautam Navlakha

In a Sunday hearing, a special court in Mumbai denied default bail to activist Gautam Navlakha who is currently lodged at Taloja jail. Court also allowed NIA's application seeking custody of Navlakha for ten days in order to question him in the Bhima Koregaon case.

Judge DE Kothalikar was hearing Navlakha's application seeking default bail under Section 167 of CrPC, as he has been in custody for over 90 days.

Moreover, Judge Kothalikar accepted NIA's plea seeking extension of 90 to 180 days to file chargesheet against Navlakha and Dr. Anand Teltumbde, also accused of being a part of the maoist movement and inciting the caste based violence that took place on the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima Koregaon through speeches at the Elgar Parishad conclave a day earlier on December 31, 2017.

The 67-year-old Navlakha had surrendered before the National Investigation Agency in April this year. He was taken to Tihar jail after being in NIA's custody for 10 days. Thereafter, on May 24 (Sunday), NIA moved applications for production warrants before the special court which was allowed.

Following this, the jail superintendent moved an application seeking transit order to transfer Navlakha to Mumbai and he was transferred via train on May 26. On May 28, Delhi High Court observed that prima facie the NIA had acted in haste in moving Navlakha from Delhi to Mumbai.

Currently, eight other accused in the case namely Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Surendra Gadling, Anand Teltumbde, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson, Arun Ferreira and Sudhir Dhawale are all lodged at Taloja. Whereas, Sudha Bharadwaj and Shoma Sen are kept at Byculla.

Navlakha is actually being kept at a quarantine facility in Taloja after he was brought back from Delhi. Speaking to The Hindu, Navlakha's partner Sahaba Hussain said that he told her that the conditions at the said facility were deplorable.

Advocate Ragini Ahuja argued on behalf of Navlakha and submitted that the investigating agency had failed to submit its chargesheet against Navlakha within 90 days.

Whereas, appearing on behalf of the NIA, ASG Anil Singh argued that the application for default bail was not maintainable.

Finally, the Court accepted NIA's contentions and allowed Navlakha's custody, denying him bail.

The special court at Mumbai has repeatedly denied bail to all the accused in the said case who have been accused of various offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, which was amended last year. Poet Varavara Rao was denied bail for a second time on June 26 and reports of the 81-year-old Rao's failing health surfaced yesterday as his family complained that he sounded delirious and was talking about his parent's death and their funeral.

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