A special court in Mumbai on Saturday, 18 April, extended the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) custody of Dalit scholar and activist Anand Teltumbde till 25 April in connection with the Elgar Parishad case.
The court agreed to a plea by the agency stating it was yet to complete the investigation and hence a further 7-day extension of his custody was required.
Teltumbde was arrested by the NIA on 14 April after he surrendered before it following the Supreme Court’s directives.
He reached the NIA office in the afternoon with his wife Rama Teltumbde and brother-in-law and Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar and surrendered.
In the court, the NIA sought ten-day custody of Teltumbde, but judge A T Wankhede granted it remand only till 18 April .
Navlakha Also Surrendered Before NIA
Civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha, a co-accused in the case, also surrendered before the NIA in Delhi. His anticipatory bail plea was also rejected by the apex court.
Navlakha was to be produced before special NIA court in Mumbai through video conference, but the court said since he had surrendered in Delhi, he will have to be produced before a court there first.
An NIA lawyer said he would be produced before a court in the national capital for seeking his transit remand after which he will be brought to Mumbai.
The Supreme Court on 17 March this year had rejected pre-arrest bail pleas of Anand Teltumbde and Navlakha, and directed them to surrender before the investigating agency.
Teltumbde, Navlakha and nine other civil liberties activists have been booked under the stringent provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for having alleged Maoist links and conspiring to overthrow the government.
The activists were booked initially by Pune Police following violence that erupted at Koregaon-Bhima in the district.
According to police, the activists made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements at the Elgar Parishad meet held in Pune on 31 December, 2017, which triggered violence the next day during 200th commemoration of the battle of Bhima Koregaon.
The police also said these activists were active members of banned Maoist groups. The case was later transferred to NIA.
Teltumbde, and activist and co-accused Gautam Navlakha were given interim protection by the Bombay High Court while their pre-arrest bail pleas were being heard.
After HC rejected their applications, the duo approached the Supreme Court. On 17 March 2020, the apex court rejected their pleas and directed them to surrender within three weeks. On 9 April, the SC granted the duo another week to surrender by way of last chance.