A Pune Sessions Court on Tuesday rejected the anticipatory bail application of activist Gautam Navlakha, who is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, ANI reported. The court also denied a three-day interim protection to Navlakha, paving the way for his arrest in the case.

Last week, the activist had moved the sessions court with an anticipatory bail plea after the Bombay High Court asked him to approach the lower court. The Supreme Court’s interim protection granted to Navlakha came to an end on Tuesday.

The activist’s counsel had sought an extension for the interim protection so that they would be able to approach the High Court. However Vilas Pathare, the public prosecutor, submitted that investigative authorities had “suffered a lot due to the interim protection granted to him [Navlakha] by one of the courts,” according to the Hindustan Times.

The High Court in September had refused to quash a police case filed 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.

Navlakha, who is accused of having links with Maoists, 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 of the same 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.

Apart from 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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