The Bombay High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on a plea for default bail filed by four persons accused in the Bhima Koregaon case [Mahesh Raut & 4 others v. National Investigation Agency]..A division bench of Justices AS Gadkari and PD Naik directed the agency to file its response in three weeks. .The four accused - Mahesh Raut, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen and Rona Wilson - moved the High Court challenging an order of the special court under the NIA Act rejecting their 2018 default bail applications.All four accused were arrested in June 2018.In August 2018, the investigation officer filed an application to extend the time to file a chargesheet against the four accused. On September 2, 2018, a Pune sessions judge granted an extension of time to file the chargesheet.The four accused filed for default bail on September 27, 2018. This application was dismissed by the special NIA judge on June 26, 2022, prompting the accused to move the High Court for relief..The accused contended that the special judge at Pune had extended the time granted to the NIA to complete its investigation, despite not having the jurisdiction to do so. They argued that the special NIA judge failed to consider this aspect while rejecting their bail plea. “The court failed to appreciate the law regarding grant of default bail as also effect of actions of the additional sessions court at Pune which lacked jurisdiction itself. The special court, in its order, has failed to appreciate the effect of the verdict given by the division bench of this Court by which the accused had prayed for default bail,” the plea stated. The plea also said that the accused had raised the issue of whether the Pune sessions judge had jurisdiction to deal with the matter at the stage of their remand..The accused further said their position was similar to that of Sudha Bharadwaj, a co-accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, who had been granted default bail by the High Court on December 1, 2021..In this regard, the plea filed through advocate Nihalsingh Rathod recounted the parameters set by the High Court while granting bail to Bharadwaj, that is:a period of 90 days under detention had expired by September 5, 2018;the application seeking bail under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which deals with default bail, came to be filed on September 27, 2018; and no chargesheet had been filed till November 15, 2018. .The accused pointed out that the special court had failed to appreciate that the right to default bail becomes available to an accused once these conditions under Section 167(2) of CrPC are fulfilled.