Court rejects bail to Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira

The Pune Sessions Court on Friday rejected bail plea of human rights activists, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Sudha Bhardwaj, all three of them accused in Bhima Koregaon violence case

Court rejects bail to Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira

NH Web Desk

The Pune Sessions Court has rejected the bail plea of Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Sudha Bhardwaj, accused in Bhima Koregaon violence case. All three are presently under house arrest which ends on Friday as well. These three activists are part of a group of five activists who were arrested on August 28 in relation to the Bhima Koregaon violence case.

Till Wednesday, October 24, the Pune Session court had been hearing the arguments of the defence and prosecution regarding the bail plea. Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira had filed their bail applications in the Pune Sessions Court on October 5 and Sudha Bharadwaj had filed a bail application on October 6.

Gautam Navlakha and Varavara Rao, the two other activists arrested on August 28, sought legal remedies in their respective high courts.

Gautam Navlakha was already released on October 1 after the Delhi High Court lifted his house arrest. Varavara Rao has challenged the Pune police action at the Hyderabad High Court.

The bail decision of Surendra Gadling and Shoma Sen was also to be pronounced on Friday, October 26. But the Bombay High Court squashed the Pune district court's order to extend by another 90 days under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act to file a chargesheet as the accused Gadling had challenged it in the high court.

Bombay High Court Justice Mridula Bhatkar also kept on hold her order till November 1 so that Pune police can appeal in the Supreme Court against her order.

Pune special court Judge KD Vadane on Wednesday's hearing pointed out that Surendra Gadling cannot avail both the solutions to get his bail and so the special court said that it will hear the bail plea of Shoma Sen and Surendra Gadling only after November 1 when the Supreme Court gives its say on Pune police's appeal against Justice Mridula Bhatkar's order.

The five activists were held by the Pune police on August 28. They were put under house arrest on August 29 following an apex court order on the plea by Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpande and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala against the police action.

The police raided the homes of the activists and lawyers from five states - Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in Mumbai, Bharadwaj in Faridabad and Gautam Navlakha in Delhi.

The police arrested the five left-wing activists, after raiding their homes in several states for suspected Maoist links over the Elgar Parishad meeting which was held a day before the violence.

The Pune police also arrested Gadling, Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen, Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale, activist Mahesh Raut and Kerala native Rona Wilson in June for their alleged links with Maoists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The arrests had followed raids at their residences and offices in connection with the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31 last year, which, the police had claimed, had led to violence at Bhima Koregaon the next day.

The police alleged that the conclave had the support of Maoists.

In a media briefing, after the raids were conducted, the police released details of some seized letters related to the five activists arrested in June in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence.

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Published: 26 Oct 2018, 4:20 PM