The Bombay High Court on Thursday, 2 March, directed the special NIA court to hear and decide Gautam Navlakhas’s bail plea afresh.
Gautam Navlakha, a human rights activist and journalist, is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.
The High Court set the NIA's order aside after it found that the trial court had given “very cryptic” reasoning and “no analysis” in it’s order denying bail to Navlakha.
What did the High Court say? A division bench of Justices AS Gadkari and PD Naik, according to Livelaw, noted:
“The trial court has not given reasoning as required under section 43D(5) of the UAPA while rejecting the bail application. The reasoning stated in the order is very cryptic and there is no analysis. The Additional Solicitor General fairly conceded to the said fact and submitted that the bail application be remanded to the trial court.”
Further, the NIA Court has now being asked to conclude the case with four weeks, without any influence by its earlier order.
The High Court has not commented on the merits of the matter.
More details? The NIA court had rejected Navlakha’s bail plea on 5 September 2022.
Gautam Navlakha is accused of offences under several sections of the Indian Penal Code as well as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The 73-year-old has been incarcerated since August 2018 in connection with the case. In November, last year the Supreme Court allowed his transfer to house-arrest owing to his crumbling health condition.
The trial is yet to begin in the Bhima Koregaon case. Meanwhile, independent forensic experts have repeatedly raised concerns of planted evidence in connection with the matter — in which 16 people have been booked under the stringent UAPA.
One of Navlakha’s co-accused, Jessuit priest Stan Swamy died as an incarcerated under-trial on 5 July 2021.
(With inputs from Livelaw.)