A court in Pune on Tuesday asked the prosecution to file its response to activist Anand Teltumbde’s anticipatory bail application on January 29, reported The Indian Express. Teltumbde was charged in connection with the violence at Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018.

On January 14, the Supreme Court had rejected his appeal to quash the first information report filed by the Pune Police against him. Teltumbde was granted protection from arrest for four weeks, during which he can seek bail from a trial court.

Teltumbde then moved a special court in Pune and filed an anticipatory bail application. The first hearing was held on Tuesday.

Advocate Rohan Nahar, representing Teltumbde, said the investigating officer has already filed a response in the matter in the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court, and the prosecution should be able to file its response soon.

Nahar said there was no evidence to link Teltumbde to the crime. “Police have not offered any proof to link him to the purported email communications shown by senior police officers in a press conference in Mumbai on August 31 last year,” Nahar said. “Police have made a laughable claim that Teltumbde attended a convention in Paris which was funded by a banned outfit. This is not only defamatory to my client but also to the organisers of the said convention.”

Public prosecutor Ujwala Pawar argued that the prosecution will have to go through documents related to the bail application and the case laws cited and sought time till January 30 to file a response.

The special court then scheduled the next hearing on January 29 when the prosecution was told to file its response and arguments on Teltumbde’s bail plea will begin.

The case

Five activists – Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale – were arrested by the Pune Police in June 2018 and five more – Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao – in August 2018. They were accused of being involved in an event that preceded the violence between Dalits and Marathas at Bhima Koregaon near Pune on January 1, 2018. They were subsequently placed under house arrest. Teltumbde and activist Stan Swamy’s homes and offices were searched.

The arrested activists are accused of masterminding the violence in Bhima Koregaon and of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

After the Supreme Court rejected Teltumbde’s appeal to quash the FIR, he wrote an open letter to the public, asking for support. A group of Ambedkarite organisations, alumni of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and the All India Forum For Right To Education have extended support to the activist and demanded the withdrawal of charges against him.