Gautam Navlakha Denied Interim Protection From Arrest By High Court

Gautam Navlakha was charged in a case following the violence at Koregaon Bhima village in Pune district on January 1 last year.

Gautam Navlakha Denied Interim Protection From Arrest By High Court

Gautam Navlakha is a member of the banned CPI (Maoist) group, the prosecution has said.

Mumbai:

The Bombay High Court on Thursday refused to grant immediate protection from arrest to civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha, who has moved the court seeking anticipatory bail.

The court said it would consider on Friday the issue of granting interim relief to Mr Navlakha by way of protection from arrest.

Justice P D Naik posted on Friday Mr Navlakha's plea seeking anticipatory bail in the 2018 Koregaon Bhima violence case and for having alleged Maoist links.

Mr Navlakha was given interim protection from arrest since August last year when he approached the high court seeking to quash the case lodged against him by Pune police.

In September this year, a division bench of the high court refused to quash the case, following which Mr Navlakha approached the Supreme Court.

The top court, while extending the interim protection till November 12, directed Mr Navlakha to approach the concerned sessions court in Pune seeking pre-arrest bail.

On November 12, the Pune sessions court had rejected Mr Navlakha's anticipatory bail plea and also refused to extend the protection granted to him by the top court.

Mr Navlakha then approached the high court on November 13.

His counsel Yug Chaudhary on Thursday told Justice Naik that the activist was given protection from arrest since last year and no harm would be caused to the probe if the same was extended till his anticipatory bail plea is heard by it.

"Navlakha''s co-accused Anand Teltumbde has also filed a pre-arrest bail plea in the high court and has been given protection from arrest. Both their cases are identical," Mr Chaudhary said.

Additional public prosecutor Aruna Kamat Pai, however, objected and said the relief granted to Anand Teltumbde was extended by the Pune court.

"However, in this case, the sessions court has refused to extend the relief granted to Navlakha," Mr Pai said.

The sessions court, while rejecting Mr Navlakha's plea, had taken note of various documents submitted by the prosecution to show that he was an active member of the banned CPI (Maoist) group.

Apart from Mr Navlakha and Mr Teltumbde, several other activists have been charged for their alleged Maoist links and several other charges following the violence at Koregaon Bhima village in Pune district on January 1 last year.

According to Pune Police, "inflammatory" speeches and "provocative" statements made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017 had triggered caste violence at Koregaon Bhima the next day. The police alleged that the conclave was backed by Maoists.

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