Civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha , an accused in the Elgar Parishad - Bhima Koregaon case was suddenly shifted from Delhi’s Tihar jail to Mumbai.
He was produced on Tuesday before a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in the city and is currently in Taloja prison.
His partner Sahba Husain said she received a phone call this morning from Navlakha who told her he is in Mumbai. Only on May 23, a Delhi court had extended his judicial custody in Delhi’s Tihar jail till June 22. “We had heaved a sigh of relief that at least, for the time being, he is in Delhi (where cases are comparatively less than in Mumbai). It had been only two nights in Tihar jail that he had got a separate cell meant for senior citizens. Earlier he would have to share his cell with three other prisoners,” says Husain.
The Delhi High Court was to hear his interim bail plea on Wednesday, when a day earlier he was shifted to another city.
Says Husain, “He told me he was taken by an overnight train journey to Mumbai. In Tihar, they gave him five minutes to pack his belongings, he said.”
Navlakha told her that he was not allowed to speak with his advocates when he came to know he would be taken to Mumbai.
“This is so sudden. It’s like abducting him. For someone who is 68, all this in a day would be too much,” she says.
Navlakha’s blood pressure shot up to above 200 and he had to be given medications, she tells. “He never had BP issue. This is the second time his blood pressure has shot up,” says Husain.
She says the NIA investigation officer asked their Delhi lawyer the contact of the Mumbai lawyer. When he asked why they needed it, the officer told that Navlakha is in Mumbai. “They were shocked,” she says, adding that their lawyer should have been given an opportunity to protest the shift to Mumbai, in the present pandemic situation.
NIA special public prosecutor Prakash Shetty confirmed that Navlakha is presently in Taloja jail after being produced before court on Tuesday.
Navlakha, a human rights and democratic rights activists is accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, now called the Elgar-Parishad case, of Maoist links and involvement in the riots in the village of Koregaon-Bhima near Pune on Jan 1, 2018. He has been charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).