The Delhi High Court on Monday ended house arrest of human rights activist Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon case, setting aside his transit remand. He is one of the five human rights activists arrested on August 28 from various cities on charges of having Maoist links.
The decision came three days after the Supreme Court extended the house arrest of Navlakha and four others for four weeks. The apex court's decision was a majority judgment by Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice AM Khanwilkar. Justice DY Chandrachud dissented, came down heavily on the Maharashtra Police and said a Special Investigation Team should be constituted in the case.
While granting relief to Navlakha, the High Court stated that the Supreme Court last week had given him the liberty to approach the appropriate forum within four weeks to seek relief, which he has availed. The court said Navlakha's detention has exceeded 24 hours, which was "untenable".
“Delhi HC bench observed that the detention is untenable in law and consequently, the house arrest of Gautam Navlakha would come to an end as of now. It also didn't accede to the request of Maharashtra Police Counsel to continue extension of house arrest of Navlakha for at least 2 more days,” ANI reported.
It also quashed the trial court's transit remand order which he had challenged before the matter was taken to the apex court.
The five activists including Sudha Bhardwaj, Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira were arrested on August 28 from various cities on charges of having Maoist links. The Maharashtra Police had claimed that it was in possession of "digital evidence about a larger conspiracy to mobilise cadres for action against security forces". The police had also alleged that the Maoists had plans to target Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Pune Police raids were carried out as part of a probe into the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which allegedly triggered violence when Dalits came in large numbers to commemorate a war victory at Bhima-Koregaon in the district the next day.
With agency inputs