Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case: HC seeks NIA’s reply on activist Gautam Navlakha’s bail plea

The Bombay High Court on Monday sought the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) response on the bail plea of activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Elgar Parishad Maoist links case.

A division bench of Justices A S Gadkari and S G Dige said it would hear Navlakha’s plea on June 28.

The bench also directed the activist’s lawyers to ensure all dates in relation to the case are placed on record correctly, as his bail plea was heard twice by the special NIA court.

In April this year, the special court had refused Navlakha bail noting that there was prima facie evidence to show that the activist was an active member of banned outfit CPI (Maoist).

In his appeal filed in the high court, Navlakha said the special court had erred while refusing him bail.

The Supreme Court in November last year permitted the activist, who was arrested in August 2018, to be placed under house arrest.

He is presently residing in Navi Mumbai in neighbouring Thane district.

This is Navlakha’s second round of appeal in the high court seeking regular bail.

The activist had earlier moved the high court after the special NIA court had rejected his regular bail plea in September last year.

The NIA had then opposed Navlakha’s bail plea, claiming that he had been introduced to a Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) General for his recruitment, which shows his nexus with the organisation.

The high court had, however, opined that the reasoning in the order of the special court was cryptic and did not contain analysis of the evidence relied upon by the prosecution.

In view of this, the high court had ruled that the bail application requires fresh hearing by the special court, and had remanded the case back to the court.

It had also directed the special judge to conclude the hearing within four weeks.

Accordingly, Navlakha had moved the special court for rehearing his case for regular bail.

The special court had then reheard the plea on the same pleadings and rejected the bail plea prompting the present appeal.

The case against Navlakha relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claim triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima War Memorial there.

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