Bhima-Koregaon case: SC stays Navlakha’s arrest till Oct 15

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New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Maharashtra government not to take any coercive step against social activist Gautam Navlakha, granting him interim protection from arrest till October 15.

A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta also asked the Maharashtra government to place all materials collected from Navlakha during the probing against him on October 15, the next date fixed for hearing.

The court was hearing Navlakha’s plea challenging the Bombay High Court’s order which refused to quash an FIR filed against him by the Pune Police in the Bhima-Koregaon case.

An FIR was filed against five persons — Navlakha, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Sudha Bharadwaj — in January 2018 following the Elgar Parishad on December 31, 2017, which allegedly sparked violence in Bhima-Koregaon in Pune district on January 1, 2018.

The Bombay High Court had on September 13 rejected Navlakha’s plea seeking quashing of the FIR filed against him for his alleged Maoist links and involvement in the Bhima-Koregaon incident.

Soon after the Bombay High Court rejected his plea, the Maharashtra government filed a caveat in the Supreme Court anticipating Navlakha’s appeal against the high court’s order. A caveat means the court cannot pass an order without hearing the other side.

Navlakha and nine other human rights activists were arrested by the Pune Police from different parts of India for their alleged role in the caste riots that took place in Bhima-Koregaon on January 1, 2018.

Among other things, they have been accused of having alleged links with the banned CPI (Maoist) and hatching a conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and topple the elected government.

–IANS

ak/arm

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