Bombay High Court Issues Notice In Bhima Koregaon Accused Gautam Navlakha's Bail Plea, NIA to File Reply in 2 Weeks

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Navlakha has filed the appeal against the order of the special court which rejected his bail plea twice. 

The Bombay High Court on Monday issued notice to the National Investigation Agency and sought its reply in the bail appeal filed by the Bhima Koregaon accused Gautam Navlakha. 

The division bench of Justices AS Gadkari and SG Dige asked the counsel for both parties to point out the order in which all the correct facts are recorded because there were multiple orders passed in the case. 

The matter came up for hearing today after Navlakha had filed an appeal against the order of the special court rejecting his bail plea in April 2023.

The order was passed by the Special Court rejecting his plea after the high court had remanded back the case to the special court in March 2023. The high court had remanded back the case to the special court for fresh consideration because the special court had not given adequate reasons while rejecting the regular bail plea of Navlakha. 

The bail appeal will now be heard by the division bench of the Bombay High Court comprising Justice AS Gadkari and Justice PD Naik on June 28, 2023.

The appeal was filed against the order passed by Special Judge Rajesh Katariya who had observed that Navlakha was an active member of the CPI (Maoist)- a banned terrorist organization and carried out activities in furtherance of the object of the organization and underwent weapon training with other accused.

“The supplementary charge-sheet and documents relied by the prosecution prima facie shows that applicant is active member of said banned terrorist organization and he carries out activities in furtherance of object of said organization. Various documents are seized from applicant during his house search through electronic gazettes. The documents produced with charge-sheet shows active involvement of applicant in crime and participation in conspiracy. CDR and Email chart produced with charge-sheet and emails seized from email ID of applicant reveals about connection of applicant with other co-accused. Applicant is alleged to have acted member of fact finding committee for organization. It also shows that he underwent weapon training with other accused,” the order passed by the special court read.

The special court also observed that the accusations against Navlakha were prima facie true.

“Considering totality of material, role of applicant cannot be segregated from role of the co-accused and there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation against the applicant are prima facie true. Material/evidence collated by the Investigating Agency in reference to accusation against applicant prevailed over the material and grounds putforth on behalf of the applicant” the order stated. 

Navlakha, who is accused of having Maoist links was allowed to be shifted from Taloja Central Prison due to medical ailments. Navlakha was arrested by Pune police from Delhi on August 28, 2018, in connection with the Elgar Parishad case. He was initially kept under house arrest but subsequently sent to judicial custody in Taloja Central Prison in April 2020 after a Supreme Court order.

In April 2022, the Bombay High Court dismissed the plea moved by Navlakha, which sought direction to be placed under house arrest till the completion of the trial. He had also demanded transfer from Taloja Prison on grounds of his advanced age and medical ailments.

In November 2022, the Supreme Court allowed Navlakha’s plea to be placed under house arrest due to his medical condition for a period of one month which was subsequently extended by the Supreme Court.

Case Title: Gautam Navlakha vs NIA