Bhima Koregaon: Bombay High Court reserves order on Mahesh Raut’s bail plea

by The Technical Blogs


The Bombay High Court, on Tuesday, reserved its verdict on the bail plea of activist Mahesh Raut, who stands accused in the Bhima Koregaon–Elgar Parishad Maoist links and criminal conspiracy case.

Advocate Mihir Desai, representing Raut, cited several high court and Supreme Court orders where Raut’s co-accused were granted bail and argued that his case is on par with theirs.

Desai submitted, “For the purpose of bail, Raut is completely covered under the judgements of Anand Teltumbde, Vernon Gonsalves, and Arun Ferreira, and he has spent more than 5 years behind bars.”

Raut’s lawyer also emphasised that the evidence against him primarily consisted of documents recovered from a co-accused, Rona Wilson’s gadget, and only one witness statement.

Desai further contended that the trial had not yet commenced, and it would likely be lengthy given that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has listed 336 witnesses.

Opposing the bail plea, Additional Solicitor General Devang Vyas and advocate Sandesh Patil, representing the NIA, argued that the larger conspiracy in the case should be considered. The NIA also highlighted Raut’s alleged links with Naxalite organisations.

“The whole ideology of Naxalism revolves around the idea that it views a democratically elected government as the enemy and considers those of their own killed as martyrs. They mobilise and mislead the youth,” NIA said.

The probe agency also asserted that Raut was a member of the banned CPI (Maoist) organisation, and satated there are “indisputable prima facie evidence of his involvement, recruitment, and receipt of monetary compensation.”

Vyas further argued that the party “created a scenario that led to violence at Bhima Koregaon where a person was killed.” In response, the bench clarified, ‘There was no intention to kill the person; the person died in the riots.’ However, Vyas stressed, ‘the scenario was created to topple a democratically elected government.’

Desai countered this claim, stating, ‘He is not a member of CPI (Maoist) and was, in fact, a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Fellowship.’

The division bench comprising Justice Ajay Gadkari and Sharmila Deshmukh will issue a decision on Raut’s bail plea on September 21. Raut was a forest rights activist working in Naxal-affected areas of Maharashtra.

The Elgar Parishad event took place on December 31, 2017, in Pune, where allegedly provocative speeches were delivered, leading to rioting on January 1, 2018, at Bhima Koregaon. According to probe agencies, CPI (Maoist) had connections with the Elgar Parishad.

Published On:

Sep 12, 2023


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