The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed activist Gautam Navlakha’s plea to quash the FIR against him in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence, stating it was satisfied with the material put forth by the Pune Police connecting him to the case.
A Division Bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre was hearing a plea filed by the activist on October 5 to quash the FIR registered against him on January 8 for his alleged Maoist links and charging him with sections of the Unlawful Prevention Activities Act.
The Bench said, “Considering the nature and magnitude of the conspiracy, the investigation agency is required to be given time to unearth the evidence against Navlakha, given the scope of the probe is not restricted to Bhima Koregaon incident, but activities leading to the incident and subsequent activities as well are the subject matter of investigation.”
The court further said, “Having considered the documents referred and submitted for our perusal by the [additional public prosecutor] in a sealed envelope, we are satisfied that the investigating agency has material to connect petitioner in the crime.”
The Bench, which had reserved the judgement on July 26, said on Friday the petition was without merit and dismissed it.
Advocate Yug Chaudhary, appearing for Mr. Navlakha, sought for a stay of three weeks on the order, which was strongly opposed by additional public prosecutor Aruna Pai. After the court recorded the request, Mr. Chaudhary handed over the order passed by the same Bench on October 19, 2018, granting interim relief to Mr. Navlakha.
The court ordered that the interim protection from arrest would be extended for three weeks, and till then Mr. Navlakha can appeal against the order before the Supreme Court.
Ms. Pai had previously told the court that based on the material recovered from other accused in the case, Rona Wilson and Surendra Gadling, it can be proved that Mr. Navlakha had Naxal links and was in contact with terror outfit Hizbul Mujahideen and Kashmiri separatists.
Mr. Chaudhary had contended that just by presenting some documents in Mr. Navlakha’s name did not prove that he was a terrorist, and the only material against him was that recovered from the laptop of the other accused.