SC extends protection from arrest to Navlakha

The Supreme Court Friday extended till October 15 the interim protection from arrest granted by the Bombay High Court to civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha in the Koregaon Bhima violence case.

The apex court directed the Maharashtra government to place before it the material collected during the ongoing investigation against Navlakha in connection with the case.

While agreeing to hear Navlakha's plea challenging the Bombay high court order refusing to quash the FIR lodged against him, a bench of justices Arun Mishra and Deepak Gupta said that it would hear the arguments on October 15.

The Maharashtra government had earlier filed a caveat in the matter seeking to be heard before any orders are passed.

On September 13, the high court had refused to quash the FIR lodged against him in the 2017 Koregaon-Bhima case and for having alleged Maoist links, noting that there was prima facie substance in the case.

"Considering the magnitude of the case, we feel a thorough investigation is required," it had said.

The high court had, however, extended the protection from arrest to Navlakha for three weeks to enable him to approach the Supreme Court to file an appeal against its order.

The FIR was lodged against Navlakha and others by the Pune Police in January 2018 after the Elgar Parishad held on December 31, 2017 that had allegedly triggered violence at Koregaon Bhima in Pune district the next day.

The police has also alleged that Navlakha and other accused in the case had Maoist links and were working towards overthrowing the government.

Navlakha and the other accused were booked under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code.

Besides Navlakha, four others -- Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Sudha Bharadwaj, are accused in the case.

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