New Delhi: The Maharashtra government has moved the Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court order that set aside a Pune court order granting an extension of 90 days for investigation into the alleged Maoist links of five arrested activists by the state police. The Supreme Court will now hear the matter on October 26. (Also read: Delhi HC Ends House Arrest of Activist Gautam Navlakha)
According to PTI, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the appeal needed to be heard on an urgent basis. The Maharashtra government pleaded that if the Bombay High Court order was not stayed, the accused in the case would become entitled to grant of statutory bail for want of non-filing of charge-sheet within the stipulated period.
The five activists, Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha, were arrested for alleged Maoist links in the aftermath of violence in Bhima Koregaon last year.
On Friday, the Pune Sessions Court will pronounce the verdict on bail applications of Gonsalves, Ferreira and Bharadwaj. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court declined to hold an urgent hearing of a review petition filed by historian Romila Thapar against its verdict that refused a Special Investigation Team (SIT)-led probe into house arrests of the five activists. The court, in its verdict, had also allowed Maharashtra Police to continue with the investigation.
Earlier this week, the state government urged the Bombay High Court to dismiss the plea filed by lawyer Surendra Gadling, in which the latter challenged the extension of his custody. Advocate General Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who appeared for the state, told the court that the Pune Police was yet to complete its probe due to the voluminous data and electronic evidence it had to sift through, hence, the trial court was justified in granting additional time to police to file the charge sheet and consequently extending Gadling’s custody period.
The Pune Police had arrested Gadling along with Head of English Department of the Nagpur University Shoma Sen, Dalit activist Sudhir Dhawale, activist Mahesh Raut and Kerala native Rona Wilson, in June this year.