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Bhima Koregaon: SC rejects bail for Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde; grants them 3 weeks to surrender

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The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the anticipatory bail pleas of activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and MR Shah asked bot6h the petitioners that the Court is not inclined to entertain their plea for anticipatory bail under the Code of Criminal Procedure at the moment and asked them to surrender their passports forthwith.

The court dismissed the Special Leave Petition challenging the February 15 Bombay High Court order, observing a prima facie case stands against them on the basis of materials on record.

The two activists have been booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for alleged Maoist links.

However, the High Court had extended the interim protection to the two activists for four more weeks.

Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Teltumbde and Navlakha respectively, argued that the incriminatory letters submitted before the court were not theirs and were instead recovered from another person.

Singhvi, further submitted that Navlakha has been involved in the dialogue process where the government had engaged him in a peace process.

Violence had broken out between Dalits and Marathas in the village of Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1, 2018, a day after an event in Pune called the Elgar Parishad was organised to commemorate the 200the anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle between the East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy.

One person died in violence during a bandh called by Dalit outfits the following day.

Pune Police named 11 of the 23 accused in the FIR, including Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, P Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha.

Except for Teltumbde and Navlakha, the others were arrested by the police in June and August 2018 in connection with the violence. They were accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

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