The Hyderabad High Court on Thursday extended by three weeks the house arrest of activist Varavara Rao in the Bhima Koregaon case, ANI reported. Rao was one of the five activists arrested on August 28 as part of the Pune Police’s investigation into violence during an event in Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1. He had filed a petition before the High Court on October 8, challenging the transit order for him to be taken to Pune.
The High Court gave him time to approach relevant courts to seek bail or the quashing of the case against him.
The Supreme Court had last month extended the house arrest of all five activists – Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha and Sudha Bharadwaj – by four weeks. Five other activists – Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale – were arrested in June as a part of the same investigation. They are also accused of having links to the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist).
A day after the second set of arrests, five citizens filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking their release. Later, an intervention application was also filed on behalf of the five activists arrested earlier. The Supreme Court decided not to order an inquiry into the arrests, and on Wednesday, declined an urgent hearing of a review petition challenging that verdict.
The Maharashtra Police have defended the arrests on the grounds that the accused were planning large-scale violence as part of the agenda of the Communist Party of India (Maoist). They had earlier claimed the activists were involved in the Elgar Parishad in Pune that was followed by the caste-related violence in Bhima Koregaon on January 1.
Rao earlier said that the case against him and the four other activists was false.