Mumbai, Dec 17 (PTI) Civil rights activist Anand Teltumbde, named an accused by the Pune Police in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima, Monday denied all charges against him, urging the Bombay High Court to quash the FIR against him.Also Read - Goa Sunburn Festival Not to be Held This Year: CM Pramod Sawant
Even as the police argued before the court that it had ample evidence that “implicated” Teltumbde in the case, the latter told a bench of Justices B P Dharmadhikari and Sarang Kotwal that he was not part of anything illegal and all his social and financial dealings had always been “above board”. Also Read - Punjab Assembly Elections 2022: AAP Announces First List of Its Candidates | Details Here
Teltumbde’s lawyer, senior advocate Mihir Desai, told the bench that on December 30 and 31 last year, his client was in Goa and not in Pune, or anywhere close to the site of the violence near Koregaon-Bhima. Also Read - Breaking News Highlights: 4 NDRF Teams Deployed in Tamil Nadu as IMD Issues Alert of Cyclonic Circulation
Desai argued in support of a petition filed by Teltumbde through him seeking that an FIR registered by the Pune Police in October naming him as a co-accused in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon-Bhima case be quashed.
“I (Teltumbde) wasn’t present at the site of the incident. I have been available for questioning, but the police is yet to summon me,” Desai said.
“The police is only placing reliance on a bunch of letters that are not signed. I have also never been a part of any fact finding committee for Gadchiroli (a Naxal-affected district in eastern Maharashtra). And in fact, I have never been to Gadchiroli,” he added.
Desai also argued that even if one were to assume hypothetically that Teltumbde was part of a fact finding team for Gadchiroli that did not make him a “terrorist”.
Advocate Aruna Pai, who appeared for the Pune Police, however, objected to Teltumbde’s plea, saying there was adequate incriminating evidence against the activist but he was yet to be arrested as the police were “busy” probing other accused.
The bench has heard a bunch of petitions filed in the case by Teltumbde, and his co-accused activist Gautam Navlakha– arrested in August by the Pune Police for his alleged links to “Maoists” and an event, Elgar Parishad, held on December 31 last year.
Delhi-based Navlakaha was subsequently put under house arrest on the Supreme Court orders.
However, on October 1, the Delhi High Court ordered Navlakha’s release.
As per the police, the Elgar Parishad event was funded and supported by Maoists.
At the event, held a day before the January 1 caste clashes at Koregaon-Bhima, located on the outskirts of Pune city, the activists made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements that contributed to the violence, the police said.
Several activists were named in the FIR.
Some of them, including Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao and Navlakha were initially put under house arrest on the directions of the Supreme Court.
However, all of them except Navlakha were re-arrested and taken into custody by the Pune Police recently.
In October, another FIR was registered by the Pune Police on the same issue, naming eight more activists including Teltumbde and Stan Swamy.
Teltumbde and Swamy are yet to be arrested in the case.
While Teltumbde has been named as an accused, the Pune Police told the HC last week Swamy was still just a “suspect”.
The bench reserved its verdict on Teltumbde’s plea and as a consequence, the interim protection from arrest granted to him previously will be extended until the verdict.
Last week, Navlakha was granted similar protection till January 14.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.