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The Supreme Court today rejected the plea by Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha seeking pre-arrest bail in the cases registered against the two in relation to Bhima Koregaon violence.
The Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah told the petitioners that the Court is not inclined to entertain their plea for anticipatory bail under the Code of Criminal Procedure at the moment. The two accused have been granted a period of three weeks for surrendering.
Navlakha and Teltumbde are two of the many accused in the Bhima Koregaon case and are charged with sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The Court rejected their plea citing the provisions under the UAPA regarding rejection of anticipatory bail where Court is satisfied of the existence of a prima facie case against the accused.
In February, the Bombay High Court had dismissed their petitions for anticipatory bail bringing the two to the Apex Court seeking relief.
The investigation in the case stood transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) earlier and consequently all the accused except Navlakha and Teltumbde were placed under judicial custody by a special NIA Court in Mumbai.
The two accused who enjoyed protection by the Courts till now will have to surrender within three weeks on light of the order passed by the Supreme Court today.
Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal and Senior Counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi represented Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha respectively and argued that the case registered against the two is based on letters recovered from third parties which make a mention of them.
Singhvi, for Navlakha, submitted that Navlakha has in the past condemned violence and was in fact Involved in a dialogue process where the government had engaged him in a peace process.
Sibal, for Teltumbde, pointed out that the case against him hinges on letters recovered from the possession of a computer ascribed to another person and that they merely make a mention of Teltumbde. The same is being referred to as evidence by the investigating authorities, he said.
The two senior Counsel also told the Court that the two accused were not at flight risk. Singhvi even added that Navlakha was not even called in for questioning in period the over two years.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the NIA, told the Court that the custodial interrogation of the two is absolutely necessary for the case and argued that the letters recovered from various sources suggest that the two accused may have had links with banned right wing organisations.