The Bombay High Court on Friday refused to grant anticipatory bail to activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde in the Bhima Koregaon case, PTI reported. However, the court extended the interim protection from arrest granted to them for four weeks, so that they could file a plea in the Supreme Court.

A Pune sessions court had in November last year rejected anticipatory bail pleas of Navlakha and Teltumbde. The court also denied a three-day interim protection to the duo, paving the way for their arrest in the case. Subsequently, they moved the Bombay High Court.

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.

The inquiry was so far being conducted by the Pune Police, but last month, the Centre transferred it to the National Investigation Agency, upsetting the Maharashtra government.