SC dismisses NIA's plea challenging bail granted to Anand Teltumbde

NewsDrum Desk
25 Nov 2022

New Delhi, Nov 25 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed NIA's plea challenging the bail granted by the Bombay High Court to scholar-activist Anand Teltumbde in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli said it will not interfere with the high court order granting bail to Teltumbde.

"We will not interfere," the bench said.

"The petition is dismissed. However, the observations contained in the impugned judgement of the high court shall not be treated as conclusive final findings at the trial," the apex court noted.

The high court had on November 18 granted bail to Teltumbde noting prima facie the only case made out against him relates to alleged association with a terror group and the support given to it, for which the maximum punishment is 10 years in jail.

It had also noted there was no evidence to show he was an active member of the banned CPI (Maoist) or had indulged in any terrorist act.

The high court had, however, stayed its bail order for a week so the National Investigation Agency could appeal its order in the Supreme Court.

Teltumbde, 73, is the third accused among 16 arrested in the case to be released on bail. Poet Varavara Rao is currently out on bail on health grounds, while lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj secured regular bail.

On November 22, the top court had agreed to hear on Friday the anti-terror agency's appeal.

It had then taken note of the submissions by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the stay on the operation of the high court's bail order was for a week only and the matter needed urgent hearing.

While granting bail, the high court said Teltumbde had already spent more than two years in jail.

After perusing the documents submitted by the NIA, the high court had said prima facie it cannot be presumed that Teltumbde is actively involved in the work of the CPI (Maoist) or is an active member of the group.

Teltumbde is lodged at the Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai since his arrest in the case in April 2020.

His brother Milind, a member of the central committee of the CPI (Maoist), was killed in an encounter with security forces in November 2021 in Maharashtra's Gadchiroli.

Anand Teltumbde had claimed he was not present at the December 31, 2017 Elgar Parishad event held in Pune city, nor made any provocative speeches.

The prosecution's case was that provocative and inflammatory speeches were made at the event, allegedly backed by the banned CPI (Maoist), which later led to violence at Koregaon Bhima village near Pune.

The accused in the case have been charged with offences relating to waging a war against the nation, being active members of the CPI (Maoist), criminal conspiracy and indulging in acts with an intent to strike terror in the minds of people using explosive substances.

The trial court is yet to frame charges in the case after which the trial will commence. PTI ABA SJK DV ABA SK SK

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