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Bhima-Koregaon case accused Gautam Navlakha gets bail after 44 months in custody

Mumbai, Dec 19 : The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted bail to activist-journalist Gautam Navlakha, one of the prime accused in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case pertaining to alleged Maoist links.

A division bench comprising Justice A.S. Gadkari and Justice Shivkumar S. Dige granted bail to Navlakha but stayed the order for three weeks.

Arrested on April 14, 2020, Navlakha, 73, has been in continuous custody in jail and after a Supreme Court order, under house arrest from November 2022, on account of his advanced age and health conditions.

He becomes the seventh accused — after Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Anand Teltumbde, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira — to be enlarged on bail, after spending nearly 44 months in custody.

Navlakha, along with the other accused were arrested and charged by the Pune Police and later by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for plotting to overthrow the government and instigating the caste riots at the Bhima Koregaon memorial, near Pune, on January 1, 2018 which left one youth dead, and created a political turmoil in the state.

A former office-bearer of the PUDR, he was also accused of Maoist links, furthering the agenda of the outlawed CPI(Maoist), possessing incriminating documents, supporting Kashmir separatists, and other offences, and his earlier bail applications were rejected by the Special NIA Court.

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