PUNE, Maharashtra: In a major setback to Maharashtra police, a sessions court in Pune has termed the arrest of Dalit intellectual Anand Teltumbde as illegal and ordered the police to release him immediately.
Teltumbde, a renowned academic and a professor in Goa Institute of Management, was arrested by Pune police early morning on Saturday from Mumbai airport on the charges of being a member of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) and association with Dalit platform Elgar Parishad which the police claimed had Maoist funding and caused violence in Bhima Koregoan area of Maharashtra last year.
The arrest had taken place despite the Supreme Court granting four weeks’ protection from arrest to Teltumbde which ends on February 11 and it could now attract contempt proceedings from the apex court.
Teltumbde was produced before the sessions court of additional sessions judge K.D.Vadane in Pune on Saturday afternoon. The same judge had rejected his anticipatory bail application on Friday.
However, on Saturday Judge Vadane termed the arrest of Teltumbde as “illegal” and asked the police to release him immediately.
The prosecution argued that since Teltumbde had submitted to the jurisdiction of the sessions court under section 438 and was denied anticipatory bail, the Supreme Court protection was extinguished, however, judge Vadane rejected this argument.
“My client had come to Mumbai this morning to meet lawyers and prepare for bail application in the High Court when he was arrested. It was an absolutely illegal arrest. We immediately moved an application of contempt of court and demanded that he be released forthwith. His arrest clearly amounts to contempt of the Supreme Court and this court has intimated the Supreme Court about it. Such intimation by itself would amount to a petition of contempt. The Supreme Court can take cognizance of it and if it doesn’t, then my advise to my client would be to pursue it,” Teltumbde’s lawyer Rohan Nahar told HuffPost India.
“Taking into consideration all facts and circumstances, I have come to the conclusion that the arrest of Anand Teltumbde made by the investigating officer is against the impugned order of the apex court... therefore it is an illegal one and also attempts to contempt of apex court. Hence, accused Anand Teltumbde be released forthwith and inform the apex court accordingly,” judge Vadane said in his order.
Teltumbde was released immediately after the court order and decided to proceed to Mumbai.
When asked about the court’s rebuttal, the investigating officer of this case ACP Shivaji Pawar told this reporter to speak to him later on.
Pune city police commissioner K.Venkatsan had said Saturday morning after Teltumbde’s arrest that he had no idea about Supreme Court’s protection to Teltumbde.