Gautam Navlakha, one of the five civil rights activists named in the Koregaon-Bhima violence case, cannot be arrested for one more month, the Supreme Court decided today. A bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta however asked Mr Navlakha to approach the court concerned to seek pre-arrest bail in the case.
Earlier, the top court had extended till October 15 the interim protection to Mr Navlakha.
Mr Navlakha and four others have been accused of inciting a crowd at the 'Elgaar Parishad' meeting in Pune on December 31 last year that later triggered violence at Koragaon-Bhima village, 29 km away.
The four other activists are Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Sudha Bharadwaj.
The Bombay High Court today rejected the bail applications of Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in the case for their alleged links with the banned CPI-Maoist.
At Gautam Navlakha's hearing, the Supreme Court said the probe is not complete and police wanted to question him further. To this, Mr Navlakha's advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that police have not questioned him a single time even though he was ready to co-operate.
When the counsel, appearing for the Maharashtra government, objected to the grant of further interim protection to Gautam Navlakha, the bench questioned the state as to why they had not interrogated him for over a year.
At least three Supreme Court judges have recused themselves from hearing a plea filed by Mr Navlakha against a Bombay High Court verdict refusing to scrap the police complaint lodged against him in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case.
Mr Navlakha had been under house arrest till he was freed by the Delhi High Court on October 1, citing a Supreme Court order that allowed him to approach an appropriate forum within four weeks to seek legal help.
In August, senior officers of the Maharashtra Police claimed solid evidence including "thousands of documents and letters" that established the activists' links to Maoists and their role in facilitating weapons and funding.
The Bhima-Koregaon case pertains to clashes that erupted during a celebratory gathering at the Maharashtra village in 2018 to mark the 200th year of the Battle of Koregaon, wherein a band of lower-caste soldiers fighting under the British banner defeated the numerically superior army of Peshwa Bajirao II.