Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon Case: Activist Gautam Navlakha Granted Bail By Bombay High Court

Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon Case: Activist Gautam Navlakha Granted Bail By Bombay High Court

Navlakha was granted bail against a local surety of Rs 1 lakh and on the ground of parity of co-accused Anand Teltumbde.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Tuesday, December 19, 2023, 03:25 PM IST
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Gautam Navlakha | File Image

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted bail to human rights activist and journalist Gautam Navlakha in the 2018 Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case. Navlakha was granted bail against a local surety of Rs 1 lakh and on the ground of parity of co-accused Anand Teltumbde.

A division bench headed by Justice Ajay Gadkari, however, stayed the order for three weeks to allow the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to approach the Supreme Court. The NIA had sought a stay for six weeks.

Navlakha is the seventh person to be released on bail by the court. He was arrested in August 2018. The Supreme Court, on November 10, 2022, permitted him to be shifted from the prison and be kept under house arrest. He is currently residing in Navi Mumbai.

Navlakha's second round of bail appeal

This is Navlakha’s second round of appeal in the High Court seeking regular bail. On September 5, 2022, the special NIA court had rejected his regular bail plea following which he had approached the high court.

The NIA had opposed his plea contending that Navlakha was an important part of the "Urban Naxal movement" to arrange for the logistics of the rural Naxal movement. Additional Solicitor General Devang Vyas appearing for the NIA argued that the urban Naxal wing was a “complementary part” of the rural arms naxal struggle because it arranged logistics like manpower and funds.

Allegations of making inflammatory speeches by Navlakha

Navlakha has been charged under sections of 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017. The police claimed that it triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in Pune district. It is also alleged that the conclave was backed by Maoists. More than a dozen activists and academicians have been arrested for their complicity in the case. The probe was subsequently transferred to the NIA.

The authorities arrested 16 people for their alleged conspiracy in the case. Others to be released on bail are – Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Anand Teltumbde, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Mahesh Raut. Rao is out on medical bail.

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