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Bhima Koregaon Case: Special Court Denies Bail to Anand Teltumbde

The bail rejection comes after Father Stan Swamy, incarcerated in the same case, passed away as a pretrial prisoner.

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A special court on Monday, 12 July, rejected the bail application of former IIT professor and academic Anand Teltumbde, who was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case and was booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

The development comes a week after human rights activist Father Stan Swamy, who was incarcerated in the same case, passed away as a pretrial prisoner after suffering a cardiac arrest.

The NIA has claimed that the Elgar Parishad conference held on 31 December, 2017, which allegedly led to the Bhima Koregaon violence the following day, had been convened by Teltumbde.

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A deeper probe into the violence allegedly revealed a conspiracy to assassinate the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and overthrow democracy in the country.

Brought Back Maoist Literature: NIA

Seventy-year-old Teltumbde was arrested on 14 April 2020 and the NIA claimed that he was an active member of the banned CPI (Maoist).

Further, in its supplementary chargesheet filed against him last October, the NIA had claimed that Teltumbde had attended international conferences “under the guise of academic visits abroad” and brought back Maoist literature and videos on “ideology, tactics, and weapons” to show other members of CPI (Maoist), The Indian Express reported.

Refuting all claims, Teltumbde stated that he himself is critical of Maoist ideology. He had also said that the academic tours attended by him were sponsored by well-known academics and organisations and there was no evidence of any unlawful activity.

The NIA counsel Prakash Shetty opposed the bail application arguing that there was sufficient material in the form of oral evidence and documents to prove Teltumbde's complicity in the case.

The NIA has cited a letter received from co-assused Rona Wilson’s laptop, which allegedly mentioned, “Anand’s visit to Paris for Human Rights Convention to be held on 9 and 10 April, 2018, and lectures will be delivered on Dalit issues in order to give traction to domestic chaos," LiveLaw reported.

Evidence Was Planted: Arsenal Consulting

However, several such documents and letters that were cited by the NIA have come under suspicion after a digital forensics consulting company in the United States concluded that these were 'planted'.

Arsenal Consulting’s reports said that Wilson and advocate Surendra Gadling’s computers were infected with a malware, called NetWire, which was planted using emails over several months preceding their arrest.

Meanwhile, Wilson approached the Bombay High Court seeking the formation of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the 'planting' of these documents.

(With inputs from The Indian Express and LiveLaw)

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