The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Maharashtra Police to submit to it the chargesheet filed against five human rights activists – who were arrested in June in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case – by December 8, PTI reported.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it wanted to see the “charges” against the accused and asked senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who is appearing for the Maharashtra government, to submit before it the chargesheet the state police had filed in a special court in Pune.
The bench was hearing an appeal filed by the state government against a Bombay High Court order refusing to extend the 90-day deadline to file the chargesheet in the case. The top court has posted the appeal for further hearing on December 11.
The state government also told the Supreme Court that the charges against Surendra Gadling and the four other activists – Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale – were very serious and they cannot be granted bail due to a technicality, reported ANI.
The activists were arrested on June 6 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which requires a chargesheet to be filed within 90 days of arrest. A special court in Pune granted the police 90 more days two days before the deadline was to expire. The Bombay High Court quashed the order on October 24, prompting the Maharashtra government to move the top court.
On October 29, the Supreme Court stayed the Bombay High Court order declining an extension to the file the chargesheet.
The police have accused the activists of being members of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and have claimed they were involved in the Elgar Parishad event in Pune on December 31 that was followed by caste-related violence in Bhima Koregaon the following day. The police had told the special court that the extra time was required to file the chargesheet because they have voluminous amounts of data and additional seized material that need to be investigated.
Five more activists were arrested on August 28 and subsequently placed under house arrest. The 10 are accused of masterminding the violence in Bhima Koregaon as well as of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).