Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde seeking the quashing of an FIR lodged against him by the Pune Police for his alleged role in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima violence and for his alleged Maoist links.
In his plea, Teltumbde denied all the charges against him even as the police opposed the same and claimed that they have ample evidence which implicated the activist in the case. A division bench of Justices B P Dharmadhikari and S V Kotwal dismissed the petition. However, the court granted Teltumbde interim protection from arrest for a period of three weeks, during which he can approach the Supreme Court.
Earlier, Teltumbde’s lawyer, senior advocate Mihir Desai, had told the bench that on December 30 and 31 last year, his client was in Goa and not in Pune, or anywhere close to the site of the violence near Koregaon-Bhima. Desai sought that an FIR registered by the Pune Police, in which the activist has been named as a co-accused in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon-Bhima case, be quashed.
Additional government pleader Aruna Pai, who appeared for the Pune Police, however, objected to Teltumbde’s plea saying there was adequate incriminating evidence against the activist, but he was yet to be arrested as the police were “busy” probing other accused.
At the Elgar Parishad event at Shaniwarwada in Pune, held a day before the January 1 caste clashes at Koregaon-Bhima, located near Pune, several activists allegedly made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements that contributed to the violence, the police said. Several activists were named in an FIR lodged on January 8. Eight more activists, including Teltumbde, were named in another FIR filed in October.
Some of the activists like Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha have already been arrested by the police. According to police, the Elgar Parishad event was funded and supported by Maoists.