The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) plea seeking cancellation of bail granted to Dalit rights activist and scholar Anand Teltumbde, booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the Bhima Koregaon case.
A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli said it would not interfere with the Bombay High Court order granting bail to Teltumbde.
It, however, clarified that the trial in the case against Teltumbde would go on without being influenced by the high court observations in the bail order.
The NIA had approached the apex court challenging the bail granted by the Bombay High Court order to Teltumbde.
While the HC granted bail to 73-year-old Teltumbde on November 18, it stayed its order for a week so that the NIA, the prosecuting agency in the case, could approach the Supreme Court.
The high court, while granting bail to Teltumbde, made a prima facie observation that there was no evidence for the offence of terrorist activity against him.
During the hearing on Friday, the SC bench asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aishwarya Bhat, who was appearing for NIA, “What is the specific role of bringing UAP(A) sections into action? The IIT Madras event you alleged is for Dalit mobilisation. Is Dalit mobilisation a preparatory act to proscribed activity?”
ASG Bhati cited several documents revealing Teltumbde’s “deep involvement” with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).
The prosecution’s case is that provocative and inflammatory speeches were made at the event that was allegedly backed by the CPI (Maoist), which later led to violence at Koregaon Bhima village near Pune in 2018.
Teltumbde surrendered before the NIA office in Mumbai on April 14, 2020, after the Supreme Court denied him any relief. He is now lodged at the Taloja Central jail.
Teltumbde, an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) graduate who taught at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), was booked in the case for his alleged links to the banned CPI (Maoists).
He has been charged with several sections of the Indian Penal Code and the UAPA.