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Bhima Koregaon: Bombay HC grants interim relief to Gautam Navlakha, no relief for Ferreira, Gonsalves

Bhima Koregaon: Bombay HC grants interim relief to Gautam Navlakha, no relief for Ferreira, Gonsalves

Shruti Mahajan

The Bombay High Court on Friday granted interim relief against arrest to activist Gautam Navlakha, who is accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, till November 1. The Court directed that no coercive action be taken against him till the next date of hearing.

At the same time, the Court refused to grant interim relief against arrest to Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves, two other activists arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence.

Navlakha had approached the Bombay High Court seeking the quashing of an FIR registered against him by the Pune Police. The petition was heard by the Bombay High Court on Friday given that the duration of four weeks of house arrest, as directed by the Supreme Court, has now lapsed.

The Division Bench of Justice Ranjit More and Justice Bharati Dangre granted interim relief to Navlakha till Thursday, November 1, when the Court will hear the matter next.

<em>Justice Ranjit More (Left) and Justice Bharati Dangre (Right)</em>
Justice Ranjit More (Left) and Justice Bharati Dangre (Right)

In another development in the case, a Pune District and Sessions judge (Special Judge) KD. Vadane rejected the bail applications filed by activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira.

The Pune Court observed the following,

“At this stage, from material collected by Investigating Officer, prima facie, it reveals involvement of the present applicants/accused. Moreover, investigation is at very crucial stage, therefore, in my view, the present applicants/accused are not entitled to be released on bail (sic).”

Aggrieved by this order, Ferreira and Gonsalves approached the Bombay High Court, but the aforementioned Division Bench hearing Navlakha’s petition refused to grant ad-interim relief to them. Ferreira and Gonsalves had sought an extension of house arrest. This matter is likely to come up next on November 1.

Ferreira and Gonsalves have been arrested by the Pune Police and will be produced before the Court on Saturday. Bharadwaj is likely to be arrested today and according to The Hindu, the Maharashtra Police arrived in the locality where Bhardwaj resides late last night to facilitate formal arrest to be made on Saturday morning.

Navlakha, Ferreira, Gonsalves along with Varavara Rao and Sudha Bharadwaj, were placed under house arrest for a period of four weeks by an order of the Supreme Court passed in the last week of September.

The house arrest was ordered after the Pune Police had arrested/detained these five individuals alleging their links with banned outfits like the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and their alleged role in inciting the violence in Bhima Koregaon following the Elgaar Parishad event in January this year.

Read the Pune Court’s Order: