NAGPUR, Maharashtra —The Bombay High Court on Monday granted interim bail to Dalit intellectual Anand Teltumbde in Elgar-Bhima Koregaon violence case.
Teltumbde, a renowned academic and professor at Goa Institute of Management, has been accused of being a member of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) and associated with a Dalit platform Elgar, which the police believe, triggered violence in the Bhima Koregaon area of Maharashtra last year.
A single judge bench of Justice NW Sambre has granted interim bail to Teltumbde till 22 February. He has, however, been directed to appear before the investigating officer on 14 and 18 February.
Teltumbde had moved the Supreme Court last month to quash the FIR filed against him in the Elgar case, however, the apex court refused to do so and asked him to seek bail from lower courts.
The top court had also granted him four weeks protection from arrest till 11 February. Teltumbde had then filed a bail application in the Pune sessions court.
Despite the Supreme Court’s protection from arrest, the Pune police had arrested Teltumbde on 2 February after the Pune court rejected his bail application.
However, the Pune court termed his arrest “illegal” and ordered his immediate release. Teltumbde then moved the Bombay High Court, seeking anticipatory bail.
“It is an anticipatory bail which can be canceled or confirmed on 22 February. Even if the police arrest him (Teltumbde), he will have to be released immediately. He can’t be taken into custody,” Teltumbde’s lawyer Mihir Desai told HuffPost India.
When asked about the court’s direction to his client to appear before the investigating officer, Desai said that his client was willing to do so.
“We have been willing to come for questioning for the last five months. We had been objecting to the custodial investigation,” he added.
Teltumbde’s matter was listed very low down in Monday’s court proceedings and it was unlikely to come up for hearing. However, Desai mentioned to the judge that the protection from arrest ends today and the matter was taken up urgently.
In another development related to the Elgar case, a court in Aheri town in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra directed the police to shift human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling and activist Varavara Rao to Yerwada jail in Pune.
Gadling and Rao were shifted to Gadchiroli jail last month after the police named them in a separate case of Maoist violence in Gadchiroli.
“The court rejected police’s demand for further custody of seven days, holding that no case was made out and no progress is shown in the case. The court also noted that all the grounds are the same and repetitive. Both the activists submitted to the court that they were kept in solitary confinement separately for 23 hours every day and one hour of interaction/interrogation for the past 12 days. They were kept in cells which had no lights or ventilation and no one to speak with. The court has placed them under judicial remand, with direction to send them back to Yerwada jail,” informed Gadling and Rao’s lawyer Nihal Sing Rathod.