Writer Anand Teltumbde walked out of jail on Friday, a day after the Supreme Court dismissed the National Investigational Agency’s plea challenging his bail in the Bhima Koregaon case, reported PTI.
Teltumbde was released from the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai, where he was lodged since April 2020.
“I am happy to be released from jail after 31 months,” Teltumbde told reporters outside the prison on Saturday afternoon, reported PTI. “It is obvious, but the sad thing is that this is the fakest case and it put us behind bars for years.”
Teltumbde was among the 16 persons arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case, which pertains to caste violence in a village near Pune in 2018. He was arrested in April 2020. He has written several books and has worked as a senior professor at the Goa Institute of Management.
The Bombay High Court granted bail to Teltumbde on November 18. However, it had put a stay on the writer’s bail order for a week as the National Investigation Agency had asked for time to file an appeal in the top court.
In the bail order, the Bombay High Court bench of Justices AS Gadkari and Milind Jadhav had observed that offences under Sections 13 (unlawful activities), 16 (terrorist act) and 18 (conspiracy) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act were not made out against Teltumbde.
The High Court noted that only offences under Sections 38 (membership of terrorist organisation) and 39 (support given to terrorist organisation) of the law were made out.
During Friday’s hearing at the Supreme Court, the bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli, said that the observations made by the High Court in its bail order will not be treated as conclusive final findings at the trials.
Justice Chandrachud asked the National Investigation Agency why Teltumbde had been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
“What is the specific role to bring UAPA sections into action?” the chief justice asked. “The event you alleged is for Dalit mobilisation. Is Dalit mobilisation preparatory act to proscribed activity?”
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing on behalf of the National Investigation Agency, told the court that letters and other forms of communication recovered from Teltumbde pointed that he had planned to create law and order problems.
“One letter says to celebrate the Naxalbari movement and how Comrade Anand gave inputs for the same and how to increase student participation,” Bhati told the court.
Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Teltumbde contended that none of the documents Bhati cited had been recovered from Teltumbde.
“The High Court says there is no document to connect Teltubmde with terrorist activity,” Sibal told the court. “He was not even at the Elgar Parishad event. They [NIA] have not shown anything.”
The National Investigation Agency has claimed that Teltumbde was among the convenors of the Elgar Parishad held on December 31, 2017, which allegedly sparked the violence at Bhima Koregaon on the following day.