Listen to this article:
Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Wednesday granted the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Maharashtra government two weeks’ time to respond to a review petition filed by three activists accused in the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case, challenging the court’s previous order denying them default bail.
A bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and N. J. Jamadar directed the authorities to file their replies to the plea filed by activists Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves.
The three undertrial accused have challenged a December 1, 2021 order passed by the bench that granted default bail to lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, a co-accused in the case, but denied default bail to several other accused.
At the time, the high court had said that the accused, other than Bharadwaj, had not filed their pleas seeking default bail before the lower court within the time stipulated by law.
In their pleas filed through advocates Sudeep Pasbola and R. Satyanarayanan, the accused have, however, stated that the high court’s order was based on a “factual error”, as it failed to note that the lower court had rejected the default bail pleas filed by Bharadwaj, the three petitioners and two other co-accused through a common order.
“Hence, if the high court, in granting bail to Bharadwaj, set aside the lower court’s order of November 6, 2019, the others too were entitled to relief,” the petitioners claimed.
The bench on Wednesday asked the NIA to file a reply to the review petition filed by the three activists in two weeks and also asked the state government to respond to it, if it wishes to, in the same period.
The high court will hear the matter further on February 24.