Nine days after being granted bail in the Elgaar Parishad case, activist-lawyers Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira walked out of Navi Mumbai's Taloja Jail on Saturday, 5 August.
Both Gonsalves and Ferreria were custody since August 2018 for their alleged involvement in offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
The two were granted bail by the Supreme Court on 28 July after which the special court in Mumbai set additional conditions for their release including that they both separately furnish sureties to secure their bail.
The Bail Order
"While forming our opinion, juxtaposing the appellants' case founded on Articles 14 and 21 with allegations [against them], and considering fact that almost 5 yrs have elapsed, we are satisfied they have made out case for bail," the Supreme Court said, while granting bail to the duo on 28 July.
The bail is subject to conditions set by the Special NIA Court. As per these conditions, Ferreira and Gonsalves must not leave the State of Maharashtra until the trial is concluded. They are also required to surrender their passports and provide their addresses and mobile phone numbers to the NIA, and must report to the investigating officer once a week.
The Elgaar Parishad case is one of the two ongoing investigations related to the Koregaon Bhima violence witnessed on 1 January 2018. Ferreira and Gonsalves, arrested in August 2018, were alleged to have links with the banned far-left group, Communist Party of India (Maoists).
In the same case, two others, poet Varavara Rao and lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj – were granted bail earlier due to different reasons, while academic Gautam Navlakha was allowed house arrest on health grounds by a November 2022 Supreme Court order.
Another accused, Father Stan Swamy, an 84-year-old Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, passed away in July 2021, while awaiting bail on medical grounds.