Bhima Koregaon case: Pune court rejects bail plea of three activists on last day of house arrest
Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves were among five activists arrested on August 28.
A Pune sessions court on Friday rejected the bail plea of activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves, reported ANI. The period of their house arrests, as specified by the Supreme Court, ends on Friday.
The sessions court also rejected an application of Ferreira and Gonsalves seeking an extension of their house arrest for seven days, reported ANI. The Bombay High Court also refused to extend Ferreira’s house arrest.
The three, along with activists Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha, were arrested on August 28 in connection with their alleged involvement in an event that preceded the violence at Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1. On Thursday, a Hyderabad court had extended the house arrest of Varavara Rao. The Delhi High Court had ordered Navlakha’s release from house arrest on October 1.
The Supreme Court had last month extended the house arrest of all five activists 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.