Scholar Anand Teltumbde along with Activist Gautam Navlakha surrendered before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday. The case was registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) alleging Maoist links in connection with Bhima Koregaon case.
The activists, who were directed by the Supreme Court on March 16 to surrender within three weeks, had moved a plea in the top court seeking an extension of time, on the ground that going to jail during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is “virtually a death sentence”.
Before surrendering Teltumbde wrote a letter stating that there was no evidence against him. Navlakha also wrote a letter saying, “My hope rests on a speedy and fair trial for myself and my fellow co-accused. This alone will able me to clear my name and walk free, having also used the time in jail to rid myself of acquired habits“. Teltumbde surrendered at the NIA office in Mumbai. His lawyer Mihir Desai said, “Keeping with the Supreme Court’s directive, Anand Teltumbde appeared before the NIA to surrender”. Navlakha surrendered in New Delhi.
The Court Proceedings
Bombay High Court gave interim protection to Teltumbde and Navlakha while their pre-arrest bail pleas were being heard. After the high court rejected their applications, they both approached the Supreme Court. On March 17, the apex court dismissed their pleas and directed them to surrender within three weeks. On April 9, the Supreme Court granted both of them another week to surrender by way of last chance.
Following the brutality at Bhima Koregaon town near Pune on January 1, 2018, Navlakha and Teltumbde were charged under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and different sections of the Indian Penal Code. The Pune Police made the case, blaming Navlakha and Teltumbde for Maoist connections. However, NIA later took over the case.
According to police, the activists made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements at the Elgar Parishad. The meeting held in Pune on December 31, 2017, triggered violence the next day.