A court in Pune rejected writer and activist Anand Teltumbde’s anticipatory bail application on Friday. The bail application of Teltumbde, who is being investigated in connection with the violence that broke out last year in Bhima Koregaon near Pune, was submitted on January 29.
Additional Sessions Judge Kishor Vadane said investigators have collected enough evidence against the activist. “In my view, there is sufficient material collected by the investigating officer to show the involvement of the present accused in the alleged commission of the offence,” the judge added.
The court said the investigation was at a crucial stage. “The custodial interrogation of the accused is necessary,” the judge added.
Teltumbde’s counsel said they would file an appeal in the Bombay High Court.
On January 14, the Supreme Court had rejected Teltumbde’s appeal to quash the first information report filed by the Pune Police. He was granted protection from arrest for four weeks and allowed to seek bail from the trial court.
Five activists – Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale – were arrested by the Pune Police in June and five more – Gautam Navlakha, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao – were arrested in August. They were accused of being involved in an event that preceded the violence between Dalits and Marathas at Bhima Koregaon. The five activists arrested in August 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 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.