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  Metros   Mumbai  13 Nov 2019  Pune court rejects activist Gautam Navlakha’s bail plea

Pune court rejects activist Gautam Navlakha’s bail plea

Published : Nov 13, 2019, 2:16 am IST
Updated : Nov 13, 2019, 4:04 am IST

The apex court in October had granted civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha protection from arrest till November 12, 2019.

Gautam Navlakha
 Gautam Navlakha

Mumbai: In a setback to civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha, a special UAPA court in Pune Tuesday rejected his anticipatory bail application (ABA) in the Elgaar Parishad case.

The court not only rejected Mr Navlakha’s ABA but also refused to extend the protection from arrest granted to him by the Supreme Court, clearing the decks for the police to arrest him.

According to the police, he had links with the banned organisation, Communist Party of India (Maoist).

The apex court in October had granted Mr Navlakha protection from arrest till November 12, 2019. Mr Navlakha’s counsel sought three days’ extension in interim protection but sessions Judge S.R. Navandar rejected his plea.

Mr Navlakha has the option of moving the high court to seek pre-arrest bail, and pending hearing, he can also get interim protection from arrest, if the court so deems fit. However without any protection, the police can arrest him before he approaches the high court.

The Pune police is probing Mr Navlakha along with 21 other prominent lawyers, academics and dalit and human rights’ activists in the Elgaar Parishad case where so far, nine persons have been booked under relevant provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Those arrested include Telugu poet Varavara Rao and left-wing activists Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Sudha Bharadwaj.

Earlier this month, the Bombay high court dismissed the Delhi-based activist’s pre-arrest bail plea and asked him to approach the sessions court in Pune for relief.

Justice P.D. Naik, who dismissed the plea, asked the sessions court to hear and decide Navlakha’s plea expeditiously. Navlakha had filed the application in the high court which had, in September, declined to quash a police case lodged against him in January last year, after which he had moved the Supreme Court.

The apex court had granted him interim protection from arrest and said he could seek anticipatory bail from the court concerned.

According to the police, “inflammatory” speeches and “provocative” statements at the Elgaar Parishad conclave held on December 31, 2017, triggered caste violence at Bhima-Koregaon village on January 1, 2018.

The police have alleged that the event, held at a fort, was backed by people with Maoist links.

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