Elgar case: Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira to walk out of jail as court orders release
A lawyer linked to the case said the special court hearing cases related to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) issued their release order on Friday
Activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, are likely to walk out of jail on Saturday as a special court in Mumbai has issued their release order, a week after they were granted bail by the Supreme Court.
A lawyer linked to the case said the special court hearing cases related to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) issued their release order on Friday and the accused are likely to walk out of the jail by this evening as their bail formalities before the court have been completed.
The accused are currently lodged in Taloja jail in neighbouring Navi Mumbai.
The apex court on July 28 granted bail to the two accused, noting that the actual involvement of Gonsalves and Ferreira in any terrorist act has not surfaced from any third-party communications.
The SC bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia granted bail to them, noting that mere holding of certain literature through which violent acts may be propagated would not attract the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
"Considering the fact that almost five years have elapsed, we are satisfied they have made out a case for bail. The allegations are serious, no doubt, but for that reason alone, bail cannot be denied to them," the bench said.
The apex court also asked them not to leave Maharashtra without the trial court's permission and surrender their passports.
It also directed the two activists to use one mobile each and let the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the case, know their addresses.
It also granted liberty to the NIA to seek cancellation of their bail if there is any violation of the bail conditions.
The activists had moved the top court against a Bombay High Court order rejecting their bail pleas.
The special NIA court imposed additional conditions for their bail, directing the accused to furnish a personal recognizance (PR) bond of Rs 50,000 each and asking them not to speak to the media about the case. It also directed them to attend the proceedings before the court unless exempted from personal appearance.
Gonsalves and Ferreira were arrested in August 2018 for their alleged role in the case and have been in judicial custody since then.
As many as 16 activists have been arrested in the case, of whom three are currently out on bail.
Scholar-activist Anand Teltumbde and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj are out on regular bail, while poet Varavara Rao is currently out on bail on health grounds.
Another accused, activist Gautam Navlakha, is currently under house arrest as per the direction of the Supreme court.
The prosecution's case is that the Gonsalves and Ferreira played an active role in the recruitment of and training for cadres of the said organisation and Ferreira also had a role in managing the finances of that organisation.
The case pertains to the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017 which, according to the Pune police, was funded by Maoists.
The inflammatory speeches made there led to violence at the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in Pune the next day, police had alleged. The case was later taken over by the NIA.