Bhima Koregaon: Centre says arrests justified, SC to examine evidence
New Delhi, Sep 17: The Supreme Court has agreed to go through the material and evidence collected against the activists arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence.
Earlier in the court additional solicitor general Maninder Singh said that the problem of naxalism has spread throughout the country and that is why he decided to intervene.
Further hearing on the matter would continue on September 19.
The court is hearing a petition that challenged the arrest of several activists in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence. The police said that these persons were naxalite sympathisers. The court had recently ordered that these persons be placed under house arrest.
Singh during the course of submissions sought to question the decision of the activists to approach the SC directly. What is the problem with the competent courts below that they had decided to approach the SC, he asked.
Senior advocate Tushar Mehta appearing for the Maharashtra government opposed the petition and said that those who had filed the plea are neither related to the case nor do they have any idea about it. He also said that there are incriminating documents recovered from the accused.
Mehta also added that the accused persons were arrested not just for their role in the case, but they also were planing on disrupting peace in the country.
Mehta went on to add that this case was not just about dissent. This concerns serious offences. The court may not be convinced, but the evidence from laptops, computers and hard disks will show what the evidence is, Mehta also submitted.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said that they had entertained the petition on the foundations of liberty. Issues such as independent inquiry etc comes later. Let the accused seek relief below. Meanwhile our interim order on house arrest may continue.
The CJI also added that they would not get into any extreme propagation. We will have to look into whether the issue concerned CrPC or Article 32 of the Constitution, Justice Misra also said.
Senior advocate A M Singhvi appearing for the petitioners said that there is a canard being spread that they have a criminal past. He said that in the case of Varavara Rao there were 25 cases and in all of them he was either acquitted or the cases have been withdrawn. In the case of Gonsalves, there were 18 cases of which he has been acquitted in 17, while one appeal is pending.
In the case of Ferriera there were 10 cases and he has been acquitted in all of the,. In the case of the remaining accused there are no cases at all, Singhvi also submitted.