Police in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra received custody of advocate Surendra Gadling and poet Varavara Rao from Yerawada jail in Pune on Wednesday after a special court approved their transfer warrant despite a pending case in the Supreme Court.

Gadling and Rao were arrested in June and August 2018 with eight others under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on charges of colluding with the Maoists to organise a conference in Pune on December 31, 2017. The Pune city police claim incendiary speeches at this conference led to planned violence at Bhima Koregaon village on January 1 and 2, 2018.

The Gadchiroli police sought their custody while investigating a 2016 case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act of a Maoist attack in Surjagad in the district. The two will be produced in Aheri court in Gadchiroli district at 3 pm on Thursday.

Senior advocate Indira Jaising had on December 3 informed the Supreme Court of a production warrant issued by the Gadchiroli police for Surendra Gadling on November 12. Jaising’s apprehension was that Gadling would be rearrested as soon as he was granted bail. The apex court has since heard arguments from both sides and is likely to give an order in the first week of February. Gadling was transferred to Gadchiroli before he received bail.

“The Pune sessions court was aware of the Supreme Court proceedings and should have refrained from granting the Gadchiroli police a no-objection certificate as a superior court was seized of the matter,” Nihalsingh Rathod, an advocate associated with the case, told Scroll.in. “Besides, there is no reason for Mr Gadling to abscond. He has been to Gadchiroli hundreds of times since 2016.”

The five named accused in the Gadchiroli case were arrested in January and February last year and granted bail within two months. Three years on, the police has not yet received a sanction to prosecute from the state, which is necessary for cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, nor have they filed a chargesheet.