Elgar-Parishad case: SC rejects NIA plea to recall Navalakha house arrest order

The Supreme Court Of India has refused to recall the house arrest order of jailed human rights activist Gautam Navlakha. The apex court rejected National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) application and ordered social activist Gautam Navlakha to be put under house arrest within 24-hours after shifting him from Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai.

Gautam Navlakha has been jailed in connection with the Elgaar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case. On 10 November, Gautam Navlakha had been allowed house arrest by the Supreme Court on medical grounds.

Announcing the order to put Gautam Navlakha under house arrest, the Supreme Court had then said that there was no reason to reject his medical report

The anti-terror probe agency had sought recall of the SC order of 10 November for placing Navlakha under house arrest, citing his links to Maoists and Pakistan’s ISI.

The bench of Justices KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy, however, ordered some additional security measures to be put in place where Navlakha will be kept. 

In the 10 November directive, the bench of judges including Justice KM Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy said the order to place the 70-year-old activist, Gautam Navlakha, under house arrest for a month in Mumbai should be implemented within 48 hours. 

However, NIA’s recall plea delayed the process and the activist still remains in Taloja jail. This time, the apex court has ordered that the directive be carried out within 24 hours. 

The Supreme Court has also directed Gautam Navlakha to deposit 2.4 lakh for the arrangements for his house arrest. 2.4 lakh is an estimated amount that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) says is the expense to make available the police personnel.

The bench also said that while under house arrest, Gautam Navlakha will not be allowed to use a computer and internet.

Further, the Supreme Court also ordered that Gautam Navlakha wouldn’t be allowed to leave Mumbai and he will not attempt, in any manner, to influence witnesses during his house arrest. Television and newspapers will be allowed, but these cannot be internet-based, it said.

The 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence refers to violence during an annual celebratory gathering on 1 January 2018 at Bhima Koregaon to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon. The violence and stone pelting by crowd on the gathering resulted in death of a 28-year old youth and injury to five others.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the Bombay high court granted bail to civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde, one of the accused in the Elgar Parishad–Bhima Koregaon violence case.

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