Bhima Koregaon: Pune Police seeks Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde appearance before Bombay HC

Bhima Koregaon: Pune Police seeks Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde appearance before Bombay HC

The Pune Police moved applications before the Bombay High Court on Tuesday seeking the appearance of activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde, accused in Bhima Koregaon case during the hearing on their anticipatory bail applications.

Special Public Prosecutor Aruna Pai for Pune Police argued that Navlakha needs to be present in Court and informed the Single Judge Bench of Justice Prakash D Naik that probing agency has filed two applications in this regard under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Section 438 of the CrPC empowers High Court to grant anticipatory bail to a person apprehending an arrest.

After Justice Naik inquired as to why the applications for the appearance of applicants were not moved prior to arguments, Pai submitted that they have been filed on instructions and are maintainable since the Court is yet to pass an order on pre-arrest bail applications.

This came after arguments of applicants and Pune Police concluded on Tuesday. Pune Police, while opposing the plea by Navlakha contended that he was not only a member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) group but an active leader, who was in touch with terrorist and separatist organizations in Kashmir.

In view of this, SPP Aruna Pai had argued that Navlakha was involved in raising funds, recruiting cadre and weapon deal for banned Maoist Group and was a part of a larger conspiracy to destabilize the government. Moreover, the Pune Police submitted documents in a sealed cover and pressed for custodial interrogation of Navlakha.

Advocate Yug Chaudhry for Navlakha had earlier argued that his client was a civil rights activist and had undertaken fact-finding visits in tribal areas. It was further argued that these visits were to document the impact of unrest and violence on locals, which were being misconstrued by the Pune Police.

Chaudhry further claimed that documents submitted by the prosecution against Navlakha are self-contradictory and do not pass the test laid down by the Supreme Court in NIA vs Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali case.

The said judgment mandates recording of satisfaction by the Court while deciding that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation against such person is prima facie true.

Furthermore, opposing the pre-arrest bail application of accused activist Anand Teltumbde, Pune Police claimed that he was an active member of the banned CPI (Maoist) group working for its frontal organizations indulged in creating an anti-government atmosphere among the public. As per state, alleged frontal organizations include Anuradha Gandhi Memorial (AGM), Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights (CPDR) and Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL).

On the other hand, Senior Counsel Mihir Desai for Teltumbde rejected claims made by State and said that documents produced were not corroborated. Moreover, he argued that if the said organizations were frontal organizations of the banned group, they should have been banned by the State. Since they are still functioning, the claims of the state should be ignored, argued Desai.

Last month, the Bombay High Court granted interim protection from arrest to Gautam Navlakha booked for alleged Maoist links. Protection from arrest to Navlakha and Teltumbde will continue until further orders.

Counsel of Navlakha and Teltumbde will respond to the applications moved by the Pune Police today.

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