Mumbai: Terming the order as “cryptic”, the Bombay High Court on Thursday quashed the order of the special NIA court rejecting bail to activist and former journalist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case.
A division bench of Justices AS Gadkari and PD Naik has also noted that the special court's order did not contain an analysis of the evidence relied upon by the prosecution.
The HC was hearing a bail plea filed by Navlakha challenging the September 5, 2022 order under the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act refusing him bail on merits.
HC noted that special court's order did not have required reasoning
After briefly hearing Navlakha’s advocate, Yug Chaudhary, this week, the bench said that the reasoning in the order of the special court was "cryptic" and said it didn't get the benefit of a reasoned order.
The court noted, “No reason of whatever nature is given. Trial court has not given reasoning as required under section 43D(5) of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) while rejecting bail.”
HC directed special court to hear matter again
Noting that the bail plea requires fresh hearing, the HC sent the matter back to the special court.
“The special judge is requested to conclude within four weeks without being influenced by the September 5 order and this order of today. It is made clear that this court has not made any opinion on merits,” said HC.
Navlakha arrested in Elgar Parishad case
Initially, Navlakha was kept under house arrest in August 2018.
In April 2020, the NIA arrested him and he was lodged at Taloja central prison. Following the Supreme Court’s order on November 10, 2022, he was again placed under house arrest in Navi Mumbai.
Why is NIA opposing his bail plea?
The investigating agency has opposed Navlakha’s bail plea contending that he had connections with a Pakistani ISI agent Ghulam Nabi Fai, arrested in the US.
The NIA also claimed that Navlakha had “committed acts that had a direct impact on the national security, unity and sovereignty".
It claimed that he visited the United States thrice to speak at the Kashmiri American Council Conference organised by Ghulam Nabi Fai with whom Navlakha was in touch regularly.
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