Bhima Koregaon case: Delhi High Court seeks NIA’s reply on Gautam Navlakha’s interim bail plea
New Delhi: In the Bhima Koregaon violence case, the Delhi High Court on Friday (May 22) sought NIA’s response on a plea by civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha seeking interim bail. Navlakha sought the bail on the ground that due to his advanced age, he was vulnerable to catching coronavirus in prison.
Hearing the petition through video conferencing, Justice Anup J Bhambhani issued notice to the National Investigation Agency and asked the agency to file its response and listed the matter for further hearing on May 27.
The civil rights activist sought bail on the medical ground stating that he is a senior citizen and suffers from Colonic Polyposis, Chronic Gastritis, and lactose intolerance, besides being diagnosed with high blood pressure.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the NIA, opposed the plea saying the grounds in the interim bail were rejected by the Supreme Court when Navlakha had sought extension of his protection from arrest on grounds of the ongoing pandemic.
67-year-old Navlakha, who is presently lodged in Tihar jail, had surrendered before the NIA on April 14 in pursuance to the Supreme Court’s direction.
On March 16, the apex court had dismissed Navlakha’s anticipatory bail and had granted three weeks time to surrender. On April 8, he again moved the Supreme Court seeking time to surrender citing the coronavirus pandemic.
The Top court had asked him to surrender in one week while dismissing his anticipatory bail plea and that of civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde.
The Pune Police arrested Navlakha from his Delhi residence in August 2018, following the violence at Koregaon Bhima village in Pune district on January 1, 2018, but the Delhi High Court had set aside transit remand order.
Earlier this year, probe in the case was transferred from Maharashtra Police to the NIA.
Notably, the Elgar Parishad conclave was held in Pune on December 31, 2017, triggering caste violence at Koregaon Bhima the next day.