Elgar Parishad case: SC adjourns hearing on activist Jyoti Jagtap’s plea against HC order declining her bail

The Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned for four weeks a plea moved by activist Jyoti Jagtap, arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, challenging a Bombay High Court order denying her bail.

Jagtap has moved the apex court challenging the October 17, 2022 order of the high court that refused to grant her bail, saying the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) case against her was “prima facie true” and that she was part of a “larger conspiracy” hatched by the banned CPI (Maoist) outfit.

A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi deferred the matter after advocate Aparna Bhat, appearing in the court on behalf of Jagtap, sought time to file a rejoinder to an NIA affidavit.

The top court granted three weeks to Jagtap to file her rejoinder.

On July 28, a bench headed by Justice Bose granted bail to activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, noting that they were in custody for five years.

The top court had, on May 4, sought the responses of the Maharashtra government and NIA on Jagtap’s plea against the high court order.

The high court had said Jagtap was an active member of the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM) group, which during its stage play at the “Elgar Parishad” conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017 gave not only “aggressive, but highly provocative slogans”.

“We are of the considered opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing the allegations or accusations of the NIA against the appellant (Jagtap) having conspired, attempted, advocated and abetted the commission of a terrorist act as prima facie true,” the court had said.

According to the NIA, the KKM is a front organisation of the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

The high court had dismissed the appeal filed by the activist-cum-singer challenging a February 2022 order of a special court refusing her bail.

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The 2017 Elgar Parishad conclave was held at Shaniwarwada, an 18th-century palace-fort located in the heart of Pune city.

Jagtap, accused of singing and raising provocative slogans at the conclave along with other KKM members, was arrested in September 2020 and has been lodged at the Byculla women’s prison in Mumbai since then.

According to the investigators, provocative speeches that were allegedly made at the conclave triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima on the outskirts of Pune on January 1, 2018.

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