A National Investigation Agency court in Mumbai on Monday rejected the bail pleas of former Delhi University professor Hany Babu and cultural group Kabir Kala Manch’s members Sagar Gorkhe, Ramesh Gaichor and Jyoti Jagtap in the Elgar Parishad case, PTI reported.

The case pertains to caste violence in a village near Pune in 2018. As many as 16 people were arrested for allegedly plotting the violence. Babu who was arrested in July 2020 from New Delhi, while Jagtap, Gorkhe and Gaichor have been jailed since September 2020.

The bail applications were rejected by Special Judge DE Kothalikar. The court order elaborating on the details was not available.

Babu and seven other accused persons – Rona Wilson, Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Anand Teltumbde and Shoma Sen – have written to the Supreme Court-appointed committee on the Pegasus row, expressing apprehensions that their phones may have been hacked by the Israeli spyware.

On February 10, The Washington Post had reported that Wilson had been targeted by two separate groups of hackers before he was arrested.

In February last year, a United States-based digital forensics company, Arsenal Consulting, had stated that an attacker used malware to infiltrate Wilson’s laptop and deposited at least ten incriminating letters on it. These included a purported letter to a Maoist militant discussing the need for guns and ammunition, and even urging the banned group to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Bhima Koregaon violence caste

The first chargesheet in the case was filed by the Pune Police in November 2018, which ran to over 5,000 pages. It had named Wilson, along with other activists and academicians Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut.

A supplementary chargesheet was filed later in February 2019, against poet-activist Varavara Rao, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, activists Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves and banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) leader Ganapathy.

The accused were charged with “waging war against the nation” and spreading the ideology of the Communist Party of India (Maoist), besides creating caste conflicts and hatred in the society.

The Centre transferred the case to the National Investigation Agency in January 2020.