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Koregaon-Bhima case: Activist Navlakha moves Bombay HC, seeks to quash FIR against him

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Civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha, arrested in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima case and his alleged links with Maoists, has moved the Bombay High Court seeking to quash the case lodged against him by Pune Police.

In his petition filed earlier this month, Navlakha urged the high court to quash the First Information Report (FIR) lodged against him, claiming there was no evidence against him and that he was being falsely implicated.

His petition will be heard Friday by the high court’s division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharti Dangre.

Navlakha, prominent Telugu poet Varavara Rao, activists Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves and trade union activist Sudha Bharadwaj were arrested in August this year by the Pune police.

However, the Supreme Court had later ordered for the activists to be kept in house arrest.

The apex court had last month refused to interfere in the case and said the Pune Police could go ahead with its probe.

Earlier this month, the Delhi High Court had allowed Navlakha to be freed from the house arrest.

It granted him the relief, saying the Supreme Court had earlier given him the liberty to approach the appropriate forum within four weeks to seek further recourse.

The Pune Police had claimed earlier that that they seized documents and communication exchanged between the accused persons which allegedly revealed their links with Maoist leaders and their role in facilitating weapons and funding.

The five activists were arrested on August 28 in connection with an FIR lodged following a conclave — ‘Elgaar Parishad’ — held on December 31 last year that had allegedly triggered violence later at the Koregaon-Bhima village in Pune.

They were put under house arrest on August 29 following an apex court order on the plea by historian Romila Thapar, economists Prabhat Patnaik and Devaki Jain, sociology professor Satish Deshpande and human rights lawyer Maja Daruwala against the police action.

Rao was arrested from Hyderabad, while Gonsalves and Ferreira were nabbed from Mumbai, Bharadwaj from Faridabad in Haryana and Navlakha from Delhi.

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