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Bhima Koregaon case: Anticipatory bail to Navlakha, Teltumbde junked

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected anticipatory bail pleas of civil rights activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case, saying it cannot be said that no prima facie case is made out.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah while dismissing the anticipatory bail pleas of Navlakha and Teltumbde said their petitions cannot be maintained in view of the bar contained in 43D(4) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967.

Section 43D(4) of the UAPA bars grant of anticipatory bail to a person accused of having committed an offence punishable under this Act.

"The special leave petitions are, accordingly, dismissed. However, since the protection has been enjoyed by the petitioners approximately for one-and-a-half years, three weeks time from today is granted to them to surrender. The petitioners shall surrender their passport forthwith with the investigation agency/officer," the bench said.

During the hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Teltumbde, said that the offence under section 120B of IPC is not laid down in the FIR and contended that some documents which the Maharashtra Police recovered was from another person's computer.

He said that these documents are not even emails so as to justify their credibility.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Navlakha, said that UAPA charges were added in the second FIR in June 2018 and his client has not been named or any role assigned to him in the second FIR.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the National Investigation Agency (NIA), countered the allegations and said that there are emails which talk about "glorious violence" and mentions killing of 27 CRPF jawans in Sukma, Chhattisgarh.

Singhvi said that even police has "used me (Navlakha) to talk to the Maoists and I have worked as an intermediary".

Mehta said that both the accused are connected to each other and have been consistently communicating and their Maoist activities are apparent on the face of record.

He said that both the accused have been constantly in touch with elements who have been trying to destroy the sovereignty of the country.

Mehta said that they have lost the cases for quashing of FIR against them in various forums which shows prima facie cases are against them and for that the probe agency needs their custodial interrogation.

Navlakha and Teltumbde had approached the apex court challenging the decision of the Bombay High Court by which it had refused to grant them anticipatory bail in the case.

The top court had on March 6 extended till today the interim protection from arrest granted to both the activists. The HC, while refusing to grant anticipatory bail to Navlakha and Teltumbde, had extended their interim protection from arrest to enable them to approach the apex court.

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