Without bail prior to arrest from the Bombay High Court to Gautam Navlakha, Teltumbde in the Elgar case

MUMBAI: In a setback to human rights activists and Anand Teltumbde, accused in January 2018 of alleged Maoist ties in the case of Elgar Parishad in Pune, Bombay on Friday rejected their bail requests prior to arrest.

Judge PD Naik, however, continued his existing provisional protection against arrest for an additional four weeks in order to allow them to appeal to a higher court. El Pune had also accused them under strict provisions for crimes under the anti-terrorism law - Law on illegal activities (prevention) (UAPA).

After a detailed hearing, held, I am satisfied that prima facie has material against the applicant to prove his complicity in the crime. And he added, there is no case to entertain the application.

Navlakha's lawyer, Yug Choudhary, had argued in detail citing lack of evidence against him. Similarly, Teltumbde's lawyer said the prosecution had no raw material to link him, while public prosecutor Aruna Pai said there was and also presented documents in a sealed cover to the judge that the defense lawyers opposed.

In the order in Navlakha's appeal against an order of the Pune session court that rejected his statement, this court, Judge Naik said, although I have read the documents in the sealed envelope, I refrain from commenting on those documents. However, for both Navlakha and Teltumbde, the HC concluded that even otherwise, there is enough other material to allow the court to record a prima facie opinion on the commission of the crime under the UAPA by the applicant.

The investigation is ongoing, the HC noted. The FIR was registered at the Vishram Baug police station, Pune. Police said that during the investigations, in April 2018, they searched the homes of eight people, including Rona Wilson in Delhi, in Nagpur and Sudhir Dhawale in Mumbai; The three were also arrested in the case. Police said they searched the homes of Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut in June 2018.

The investigating agency said that during these searches it retrieved documents from several computers and in its forensic analysis invoked the strict provisions for crimes under the Illegal Activities (Prevention) Act in May 2018.

The HC said: The objection regarding the jurisdiction to investigate by the Pune police is unfounded. He noted that on the charge sheet, the police summarize how the conspiracy was extended.

In the case of Teltumbde, the HC noted that the prosecution said it was an active member of the banned terrorist organization CPI (Maoist). Documents seized from the electronic devices of other defendants revealed the applicant's role, the prosecution said and added that his house was registered in August 2018 and was not present.

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