Published On: Tue, Mar 17th, 2020

Bhima Koregaon case: SC tells Teltumbde, Navlakha to surrender

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday declined anticipatory bail to academician Anand Teltumbde and activist Gautam Navlakha and allowed them to surrender, in three weeks, before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with Bhima Koregaon violence case.

Navlakha and Teltumbde are two of the many accused in the Bhima Koregaon case

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra and comprising Justice MR Shah asked both the activists to surrender and also asked them to surrender their passports forthwith. The bench said their petitions cannot be maintained in view of Section 43D(4) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967, this section bars grant of anticipatory bail to a person accused of having committed an offence punishable under this Act.

“The special leave petitions are, accordingly, dismissed. However, since the protection has been enjoyed by the petitioners approximately for one-and-a-half years, three weeks from today is granted to them to surrender. The petitioners shall surrender their passport forthwith with the investigation agency/officer.”

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Teltumbde, contended that the offence under section 120B of IPC is not laid down in the FIR and documents cited by Maharashtra Police were recovered from the computer of some other person. And, these documents were not even email, therefore, it is very difficult to validate them.

Navlakha and Teltumbde are two of the many accused in the Bhima Koregaon case and are charged with sections of the UAPA.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, representing Navlakha, said in June 2018, UAPA charges were added in the second FIR and he has not been named in this FIR.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the NIA, contested these allegations by citing emails which mentioned “glorious violence” and also had content on the killing of 27 CRPF jawans in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma. Singhvi insisted his client was used by the police as an intermediary to hold talks with Maoists.

Mehta submitted before the court that both did not get any success for quashing of FIR against them in various forums. And, this establishes prima facie cases are against them and their custodial interrogation, he added.

The two activists had moved the apex court after the Bombay High Court dismissed their petition seeking anticipatory bail.

The investigation was transferred to NIA and consequently all the accused, leaving Navlakha and Teltumbde, were placed under judicial custody by a special NIA Court in Mumbai.

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