Elgar Parishad Maoists links case: Gautam Navlakha withdraws plea seeking transfer from Mumbai to Delhi
The Supreme Court on Friday allowed activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence case of 2018, to withdraw his petition seeking transfer from Mumbai to Delhi under house arrest.
The Bench of Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice B.V. Nagarathna dismissed the petition as withdrawn, after Senior Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing for the activist, told the Bench that Navlakha would look for some other place to stay in Mumbai. The Counsel said that Navlakha would withdraw the plea.
Appearing for the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed Navlakha’s application.
On November 10 last year, the Apex Court had shifted the 73-year-old human rights activist from Taloja Prison, where he was then lodged, to house arrest for one month, on medical grounds.
The Bench of Justice K.M. Joseph and Justice Hrishikesh Roy passed an interim order for his one-month house arrest in Mumbai, considering his age and medical conditions.
The Apex Court had put some conditions on the activist during his house arrest. Navlakha was told not to use mobile phone, internet, laptop or any other communicating device. He was permitted to use a mobile phone provided by the police for 10 minutes in a day in presence of police personnel. Only his sister and daughter were allowed to visit him once a week for three hours.
The top court of the country asked Navlakha to deposit Rs 2.4 lakh for expenses incurred by the state in providing police security. It further directed that Navlakha’s house will remain under surveillance. Police personnel will be deployed outside the residence, while CCTV cameras will be installed outside the rooms and at both entry and exit points of the house.
He was told not to leave the house under any circumstance, except for walks in the company of Police personnel. The activist was also prohibited from talking to any person during walks.
NIA had claimed that Navlakha was in ‘touch’ with Kashmiri extremists and even Pakistan intelligence agency ISI. It further said that the agency would be unable to prevent the activist from writing mails during house arrest.The Counsel for NIA produced documents procured from the US court, which allegedly linked the activist to ISI agent Ghulam Nabi Fai, who was convicted in the US for accepting funds from the ISI.
On December 14, 2022, the Apex Court extended the interim order of house arrest till the second week of January 2023. On January 9 this year, the top court of the country again extended Navlakha’s house arrest till February 17.
Navlakha, one of the several civil liberties activists in the Elgar Parishad Maoists links case, was booked under the stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for an alleged conspiracy to topple the government.