Sudha Bharadwaj, Two Other Rights Activists Denied Bail in 'Bhima Koregaon' Case

Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves are now in police custody, while Bharadwaj is also expected to be arrested soon.

New Delhi: While the Supreme Court’s hearing of the review petition filed by Romila Thapar and others in the Bhima Koregaon case – the historian and her petitioners want the apex court to enlarge the scope of the partial relief it gave five prominent human rights activists that the Maharashtra police sought to arrest – was set to begin, a sessions court in Pune on Friday denied bail to three of them, setting the stage for their imminent arrest.

Of the five activists – Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira – only Navlakha has managed to get the transit custody sought by the Maharashtra police quashed. The others remained under house arrest even as they pursude the legal remedies the apex court had said they would be at liberty to do.

On Friday, the Pune trial court rejected the bail pleas of Bharadwaj, Gonsalves and Fereira, though an appeal to the high court will likely be made. The bail plea had been filed on October 5 and 6. Gonsalves and Fereira were arrested the same day and Bharadwaj may be sent to jail on Saturday.

At the Supreme Court: Review petition by Romila Thapar and others

At the Supreme Court,  a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud will consider the review petition filed by Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociologist Satish Deshpande, and senior human rights activist Maja Daruwala. The court had earlier dismissed the petitioners plea that a special investigation team look into the case but had given the activists a measure of interim protection.

While delivering the original order, Justice Chandrachud had strongly disagreed with the then CJI Dipak Misra and Justice Khanwilkar, saying that the Maharashtra police’s actions thus far were questionable and it could not be trusted to fairly investigate the case.

Move to quash of charges in Bombay high court

A bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharti Dangre of the Bombay high court started hearing petitions filed by Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde and Father Stan Swamy, asking that the charges filed against them by the Maharashtra police be dropped. Teltumbde and Swamy have not been arrested, but their houses were raided by the police. After argument, the hearings were adjourned to Thursday with the protection afforded them extended to Thursday

On October 1, the Delhi high court ordered that Navlakha be released from house arrest, saying, “With there being several non-compliances of the mandatory requirement of Article 22 (1), Article 22 (2) of the Constitution and Section 167 read with Section 57 and 41 (1) (ba) of the Cr PC, which are mandatory in nature, it is obvious to this Court that the order passed by the learned CMM on 28th August, 2018 granting transit remand to the Petitioner is unsustainable in law. The said order is accordingly hereby set aside.”