Justice Ravindra Bhat has recused himself from hearing the plea filed by Gautam Navlakha seeking quashing of the FIR registered against him in the Bhima Koregaon case..Justice Bhat who was on the Bench with Justices Arun Mishra and Vineet Saran is the fifth judge to have recused from hearing Navlakha’s plea..On Monday, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had recused from the matter..Thereafter, when the matter was placed before the Bench of Justices NV Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai, all three of them had recused too. This makes Justice Bhat the fifth judge to recuse from the matter..The Court, however, assured that Navlakha’s plea will be heard tomorrow, given that Navlakha’s interim protection from arrest granted by the Bombay High Court ends tomorrow..Navlakha was represented by Senior Counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Nitya Ramakrishnan. The State of Maharashtra was represented by Advocate Nishant katneshwarkar..The petition by Navlakha is an appeal against a judgment of Bombay High Court which had refused to quash the FIR against Navlakha. The FIR accuses Navlakha of having links with banned Naxal groups..The Bombay High Court had arrived at the prima facie conclusion that there exists sufficient material for the probe to continue against Navlakha. The material brought before the Court by Pune Police included several letters exchanged between CPI(Maoist) members, a critical report on Navlakha written by a CPI (Maoist) member allegedly elaborating the “deep-rooted involvement” of Navlakha in the party, and a copy of the Strategy and Tactics of Indian Revolution, in addition to documents submitted by the State in a sealed envelope..The High Court had, however, emphasised that the observations made in its order are only prima facie in nature and that they should not influence the trial court’s decision in the matter. Along with this, the interim protection from arrest afforded to Navlakha was extended for a period of three weeks giving time to Navlakha to come before the Supreme Court in appeal..The State of Maharashtra had filed a caveat in the Supreme Court on September 16 in this case..Gautam Navlakha and four other activists were implicated after an Elgar Parishad meeting held on December 31, 2017, allegedly provoked violence at the Koregaon-Bhima village in Pune the next day..Navlakha was booked under provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Sections 121, 121(a) and 124 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), amounting to waging a war against the State, conspiring to commit certain offences against the State, and sedition..Bar & Bench is available on WhatsApp. For real-time updates on stories, Click here to subscribe to our WhatsApp.