Don't Give House Arrest Relief to Navlakha as He May Use Social Media: NIA to HC

Elgar Parishad-accused Gautam Navlakha has been in prison since August 2018. 

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday, 5 April, requested the Bombay High Court to not grant relief of house arrest to Elgar Parishad-accused Gautam Navlakha, arguing that he may resort to the use of social media, which could be "dangerous".

The comment was made by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Anil Singh on behalf of the NIA while the court was hearing a plea by Navlakha to release him from Taloja prison and provide him the relief of house arrest.

"Police guards can be posted outside his (Navlakha's) house, but how will the court stop him from using social media, the internet in his house? This is very dangerous. He is an accused in a matter concerning national security and he wants to stay in his house," Singh told the court, as per a report by PTI.

'Navlakha is Aged, Suffers from Hypertension': Counsel

The ASG made these comments after Navlakha's lawyer Yug Chaudhry said that his client was progressing in age and was suffering from hypertension, adding that the Taloja prison was extremely overcrowded.

Responding to Chaudhry's remarks, Singh added, "Today, issues like hypertension, diabetes are common. Where is the question of house arrest? Tomorrow, this court will be flooded, it will become like a market with thousands of jail inmates asking for house arrest."

The Maharashtra government had also opposed Navlakha's petition for relief, but told the bench, comprising Justices SB Shukre and GA Sanap, that prison authorities would provide the necessary medical attention to Navlakha, reported PTI.

Sangeeta Shinde on behalf of the government had earlier rejected allegations by the activist's counsel of non-provision of basic medical facilities in the prison.

Navlakha is one of the 15 activists, academics, and lawyers who were accused of having Naxal links and giving inflammatory speeches at Pune’s Elgar Parishad meet, which allegedly instigated the violence in Bhima Koregaon on 1 January 2018. He was arrested by the Pune police in August later that year.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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