- Dalit scholar Anand Teltumbde was arrested in Mumbai early this morning
- His request for protection from arrest was rejected by Pune court
- Violence broke out after December 31 Elgar Parishad in Koregaon Bhima
A Pune court on Saturday called the arrest of Dalit scholar Anand Teltumbde-- an accused in the Koregaon Bhima case-- "illegal". The court in its order said that the activist has Supreme Court's interim protection till February 11.
Mr Teltumbde, a professor at Goa Institute of Management, was arrested from the domestic terminal of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport around 3.30 a.m after his arrival from Kerala. He was detained by the Mumbai Police, who later handed him over to the Pune Police, an official said. "Teltumbde was interrogated and later arrested by the Pune Police. He would be produced in the court later in the day," Shivaji Bodkhe, Joint Commissioner of Pune Police, was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
He is likely to be produced before a court in Pune later in the day.
The Pune Sessions Court on Friday had denied the pre-arrest bail application citing sufficient material to prove his links banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and also with the Elgar Parishad, which triggered violence in Koregaon Bhima in 2017. "In my view, there is sufficient material collected by the investigating officer to show the involvement of the present accused in the alleged commission of the offence. Moreover, investigation in respect of present applicant/accused is at (a) very crucial stage," Additional sessions judge Kishor Vadane observed while pronouncing the judgement.
Anand Teltumbde's lawyer claimed the arrest was "illegal" as the activist had been provided protection from arrest till February 11. "The Supreme Court in its January 11th order had given Anand Teltumbde a relief of four weeks which means he could not be arrested till February 11th, but still the arrest has been made. Will also inform the court about this order," Rohan Nahar, who is representing Mr Teltumbde in the case, said.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising took to Twitter to protest the activist's arrest.
Dr Anand Teltumbde arrested at 330am at Mumbai airport by Pune Police in Gross violation of SC order giving him protection from arrest till 11th February , this is contempt of the order of the Supreme Court of India #ReleaseDrAnandTeltumbde immediately- indira jaising (@IJaising) February 2, 2019
Mr Teltumbde approached the Pune court for protection from arrest after the Supreme Court rejected his petition seeking to cancel the First Information Report (FIR) against him in connection with the Koregaon Bhima violence in 2017.
According to Pune Police, Maoists were behind the Elgar Parishad conclave held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017. Several activists made inflammatory speeches and provocative comments at the event, leading to violent clashes at the Koregaon Bhima war memorial the following day, police had said.
Some of the activists facing a case in connection with the event are Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha.