A special NIA court on Friday rejected the default bail application of professor and activist Anand Teltumbde, an accused in the Elgar Parishad - Bhima Koregaon case, saying it is not maintainable.
Teltumbde had filed the plea seeking default or statutory bail, as the investigation agency had not filed a chargesheet against him even after he had completed 90 days in custody. On July 12, when the 90 days custody period ended, the special court had extended his custody along with that of journalist and activist Gautam Navlakha, a co-accused, by another 90 days on the plea of the NIA. The agency had sought more time to file the chargesheet, citing the extraordinary circumstances of the lockdown and pandemic, which hindered investigation.
Appearing for Teltumbde, advocate R Sathyanarayan had told the court that the default bail plea has been made because Teltumbde would be eligible for it if the order extending his custody, which they plan to challenge, is set aside. Rejecting the bail plea on Friday, under the NIA Act, special judge DE Kothalikar said in his order that, while considering the plea, the court is not supposed to expect ifs and buts of the matter. He further said that, as of today, the period of detention of Teltumbde has already been authorised under Sec 43D of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Under this section, if the investigation agency is not able to complete investigation within ninety days, the court can extend the custody of an accused up to 180 days if it is satisfied by the report of the public prosecutor indicating the progress of the investigation. Thus, the court added, that the accused does not have the right to claim default bail as his custody has already been extended.
Teltumbde, a family member of Dr BR Ambedkar, had surrendered on April 14 before the NIA Mumbai office as per the directions of the Supreme Court, after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the top court.
Varavara Rao’s family writes to NHRC
The family of 81-year-old Telugu poet Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad - Bhima Koregaon case, wrote to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Friday, saying that they are denied information about his condition or treatment in Nanavati Hospital. Rao was shifted to the private hospital from state’s JJ hospital following a direction from the human rights body to the state. The family said the denial of information was a violation of the NHRC’s direction to provide medical care and assistance to Rao with intimation to his family. They receive no official information from either the jail or hospital authorities about the octogenarian’s condition, nor is their consent taken for any critical treatment he may be given, they said. His health becoming a subject of public speculation with no transparent information forthcoming is causing extreme anxiety to them, the letter signed by Rao’s wife P Hemalatha and three daughters said.