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Bhima-Koregaon case: Accused activist arrested at Mumbai Airport

Anand Teltumbde's lawyer Rohan Nahar, claimed the arrest was "illegal" as the activist had been provided protection from arrest till February 11. He said "The Supreme Court in its January 11th order had given Anand Teltumbde a relief of four weeks which means he could not be arrested till February 11th, but still the arrest has been made. Will also inform the court about this order."

Saima Siddiqui

Saima SiddiquiBy Saima Siddiqui

Published on 2 Feb 2019 7:59 AM GMT

Bhima-Koregaon case: Accused activist arrested at Mumbai Airport
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Bhima-Koregaon case: Accused activist arrested at Mumbai Airport
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Mumbai: Anand Teltumbde, an accused in Koregaon Bhima case, was arrested at Mumbai airport on Saturday morning, a day after his request for protection from arrest was rejected by a court.

Teltumbde, a Dalit scholar and professor at Goa Institute of Management, was arrested from the domestic terminal of the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport around 3.30 a.m by Pune police.

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He is likely to be produced before a court in Pune later in the day. The Pune Sessions Court on Friday had denied the pre-arrest bail application citing sufficient material to prove his links with banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and also with the Elgar Parishad, which triggered violence in Koregaon Bhima in 2017.

"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. Moreover, investigation in respect of present applicant/accused is at (a) very crucial stage," Additional sessions judge Kishor Vadane observed while pronouncing the judgement.

Anand Teltumbde's lawyer Rohan Nahar, claimed the arrest was "illegal" as the activist had been provided protection from arrest till February 11. He said "The Supreme Court in its January 11th order had given Anand Teltumbde a relief of four weeks which means he could not be arrested till February 11th, but still the arrest has been made. Will also inform the court about this order."

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Teltumbde approached the Pune court for protection from arrest after the Supreme Court rejected his petition seeking to cancel the First Information Report (FIR) against him in connection with the Koregaon Bhima violence in 2017.According to Pune Police, Maoists were behind the Elgar Parishad conclave held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017. Several activists made inflammatory speeches and provocative comments at the event, leading to violent clashes at the Koregaon Bhima war memorial the following day, police had said.

On January 14, the Supreme Court of India had refused to reverse the FIR filed against Teltumbde, a leading civil rights activist and an Indian Institute of Management-alumnus, for his alleged role as an “urban Naxal”. On February 1, a Pune court declined Teltumbde’s request for anticipatory bail. Though his lawyers said they would be moving the high court, the arresting officers cited the Pune court’s denial of bail as the reason they were taking him into custody.

Teltumbde, along with nine other rights activists and lawyers currently in prison, has been booked under two charges – for allegedly plotting to assassinate prime minister Narendra Modi, and for allegedly inciting mob violence on the Dalits who had visited Bhima Koregaon on January 1 last year. Some of the activists facing a case in connection with the event are Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha.

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Despite the Supreme Court granting Anand Teltumbde four weeks protection from arrest to enable him to seek regular/pre-arrest bail from a lower court has raised questions on Pune police . As per sources, a team of lawyers is also readying to approach the Bombay high court in case the Pune court does not grant him relief.

Saima Siddiqui

Saima Siddiqui

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