A victim of the January 1 Bhima Koregaon violence in Pune has filed an application in the Bombay High Court challenging the bail granted by a local court to Milind Ekbote, the prime accused in the case.
Ekbote, who heads a right-wing organisation called the Samast Hindu Aghadi, was booked by the Pune Police in two separate FIRs on charges of inciting violence, as well as under sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
He was arrested in March after the local court in Pune, the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea.
However, a month after his arrest, he was granted bail by the Pune court.
This bail order of the sessions court has now been challenged by Sanjay Bhalerao, one of the victims in the case.
In his plea, filed through his counsel Nitin Satpute, Bhalerao claimed that the sessions court “erred” in granting bail to Ekbote for it failed to take note of the fact that the latter had been charged with a serious offence, and that he was a habitual offender.
Bhalerao cited police records in his plea to show that Ekbote had several cases lodged against him in the past. As per the police’s records, Ekbote has 17 cases of similar atrocities registered against him.
He said the police probe into the Bhima Koregaon violence showed that it was a pre-planned conspiracy.
The probe also showed that Ekbote enjoyed much clout in the local community, and therefore, it was likely that if released on bail, he would try to influence witnesses or tamper with evidence, Bhalerao said in his plea.
Thus, he urged the HC to cancel Ekbote’s bail.
While the plea was mentioned before the vacation bench of HC earlier this week, it would likely be taken up for hearing by a regular bench on June 5.
On January 1, violence had erupted at an event meant to mark the 200th anniversary of the Bhima Koregaon battle in which British forces defeated the Peshwa army on January 1, 1818.
The violence led to the death of one person, injuries to several others, including 10 policemen.