The Supreme Court has extended the house arrest of five activists held in Bhima Koregaon case till September 12. The top court pulled up the Maharashtra government for the press meet held by its police last week, giving evidences in public.
Annoyed over the statements given by the Assistant Commissioner of Police of Pune on the matter, a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said the police were casting aspersions on the court. "You must ask your police officials to be more responsible. The matter is before us and we don't want to hear from police officials that the Supreme Court is wrong," the bench told Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for Maharashtra government.
The Maharashtra police has defended its demand for custody of the activists - Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonzalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bhardwaj and Gautam Navalakha - saying that keeping these activists under house arrest will hamper the investigation in the case.
The arrest of five rights activists had nothing to do with their dissenting opinion or difference in their political or other ideologies but was because of "serious criminal offences" and incriminating material, the Maharashtra police told the court.
Maharashtra Police had on August 28 raided the homes of the prominent activists in several states and arrested at least five of them for suspected Maoist links, sparking a chorus of outraged protests from human rights defenders.
The raids were carried out as part of an investigation into an event called Elgar Parishad, or conclave, on December 31 last year, which had later triggered violence at Bhima-Koregaon village.