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'Offence Serious, Ample Evidence': Court Denies Bail to Gautam Navlakha

Navlakha was arrested in 2020 for his alleged role in the case.

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande

A special NIA court on Monday, 5 September, rejected the bail plea of activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case.

The offence is "very serious" in nature, special NIA court judge, Rajesh J Katariya, said while rejecting Navlakha's bail plea.

There is ample material against the activist in the charge sheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case and prima facie he is connected with the alleged offence, a special court in Mumbai has said while denying him bail.

The activist was arrested on 28 August 2018 for his alleged involvement in the case. He was initially kept under house arrest, but was later sent to judicial custody and lodged at the Taloja prison in neighbouring Navi Mumbai.

The activist had sought bail claiming he was “falsely implicated” in the case and had no concern with the alleged offence.

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After hearing both the sides, the court said documents alleged to be seized from the possession of the applicant show the nexus of the applicant with the case.

Navlakha had sought bail claiming he was “falsely implicated” in the case and had no concern with the alleged offence. His lawyer had argued that it was not the case of the prosecution that Navlakha was present at the spot on the day of the incident.

But, the NIA opposed the application, saying the probe revealed that Navlakha is a member of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). He was in possession of incriminating documents related to the CPI (Maoist), accessible exclusively to the party members, the NIA said.

Further, the prosecution said that Navlakha had been actively involved in fixing appointments and meetings between active urban cadres and underground leaders of CPI (Maoist) under the garb of a fact finding mission.

He had delivered speeches at different forums on many issues related to the Kashmir separatist movement and Maoist movement, the NIA submitted and prayed for rejection of his bail.

Activist Had Sought To Be Moved to House Arrest

The Bombay High Court had dismissed a plea filed by Navlakha in April, seeking to be moved to house arrest instead of judicial custody in Taloja jail as it lacked basic medical facilities.

Navlakha is one of the 16 accused in a case related to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad meet in Pune in 2017. He has been imprisoned in Taloja Central Jail, Navi Mumbai, since 25 May 2020.

The septuagenarian had approached the high court early last year seeking to be placed under house arrest due to his medical ailments and the lack of basic facilities in prison.

(With inputs from PTI)

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