Activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, on Tuesday moved the Pune sessions court for anticipatory bail, PTI reported. The court said it will hear his plea on November 7. The Bombay High Court had on Monday asked Navlakha to approach the Pune sessions court for anticipatory bail.

In September, the High Court had refused to quash a police case lodged against Navlakha in January, following which he moved the Supreme Court. On October 15, the Supreme Court extended by four weeks the interim protection from arrest granted to the activist. It also granted Navlakha permission to approach an appropriate court seeking pre-arrest bail.

On October 4, the court had extended Navlakha’s protection from arrest till October 15. On September 13, the Bombay High Court had extended Navlakha’s interim relief from arrest in the case for three weeks, allowing him to appeal in the top court.

Supreme Court Justice Arun Mishra on October 15 told lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for Navlakha, that it would be premature to entirely quash the proceedings as the investigation was on. Mishra told Singhvi that it would be better for the activist to apply for bail after he is arrested instead of seeking to quash the FIR.

The case

Navlakha is accused of having links with Maoists. He was one of the five activists arrested in August 2018 in connection with the violence that broke out in the village near Pune on January 1 that year between Dalits and Marathas.

According to the police, the violence was triggered by a meeting called the Elgar Parishad, which was organised the day before in Pune to commemorate the Battle of Bhima Koregaon in 1818 between the East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy.

Along with Navlakha, activists Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Varavara Rao were also arrested. Five other activists – Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale – were arrested in June 2018 as part of the same investigation.

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