Elgar Parishad case: Bombay HC extends Teltumbde's interim protection from arrest till Feb 22
Mumbai, Feb 11: The Bombay High Court on Monday extended Dalit scholar Anand Teltumbde's interim protection from arrest till February 22 and directed the Pune Police to release him on a personal bond and surety in case he is arrested before the next hearing.
Teltumbde, who is facing arrest by the Pune Police in the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case, was granted time till February 11 to exhaust all his legal remedies seeking protection from arrest.
He had approached the high court earlier this year, seeking anticipatory bail. While his bail plea was opposed by the Pune Police, who urged that Teltumbde be denied any relief, the court accepted the scholar's request for an adjournment of the hearing, and protected him from arrest until the next hearing on February 22.
On February 5, the Pune Police was directed by Justice N W Sambre to file an affidavit listing down the grounds on which it was opposing Teltumbde's anticipatory bail plea. Justice Sambre had also directed the police to give a copy of its affidavit to Teltumbde's counsel, Mihir Desai, by February 8.
The state's counsel, Aruna Pai, who appeared for the Pune Police, however, gave the affidavit to Desai only on Monday and hence, Justice Sambre granted an adjournment to the defence counsel. In its affidavit, police reiterated that the court must not grant protection from arrest to Teltumbde as it had ample incriminating evidence against him.
It added that the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) did not allow granting anticipatory bail to those booked under it. Advocate Pai told the court that earlier last year, Teltumbde had filed another plea in the high court in which he had denied all charges against him and had sought quashing of the FIR against him in the case.
However, another bench had rejected the plea. Desai has maintained that the law provides for anticipatory bail even under the UAPA in "exceptional cases". On February 2, the Pune Police arrested Teltumbde from the Mumbai airport at around 3 am.
His arrest was deemed illegal by a sessions court since interim protection from arrest granted to him by the Supreme Court had not expired. He was later released. The Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case was registered by the Pune Police following an incident of violence near Pune between December 31, 2017 and January 1, 2018.
According to police, the Elgar Parishad event on December 31, 2017 led to violent clashes the next day at Bhima Koregaon. Police claim that the event was funded and supported by Maoists.
Some activists made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements that contributed to the Bhima Koregaon violence at the event, the police said. Several activists were named in the FIR.
Some of them, including Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha, were initially put under house arrest on the directions of the Supreme Court.
However, all of them, except Navlakha, were re-arrested and taken into custody by the police recently. In October this year, another FIR was registered by the Pune Police in the case, naming eight more activists, including Teltumbde and Stan Swamy.
The police also claimed to have seized four letters from the houses of these activists in which they allegedly discussed a plan to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.