Bhima-Koregaon Case: Supreme Court extends house arrest of five activists, rules out SIT probe

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday extended the house arrest of five rights activists who were taken into custody by the Pune Police in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence case. The plea for an SIT was not entertained, with the accused given the liberty to pursue other appropriate remedies and the top court declined to appoint a SIT for probe into their arrest.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Dipak Mishra and comprising Justices A M Khaniwlkar and D Y Chandrachud, on Friday gave a 2:1 judgement on the plea seeking the immediate release of the activists.

“Arrests were not because of dissent of activists, there is prima facie material to show their link with banned CPI (Maoist),” CJI Dipak Misra said.  Chandrachud says the petition was genuine and lashes out at Maha police for press meet, distribution of letters to media.

“Accused can’t choose which probe agency should examine case,” Justice AM Khanwilkar said while reading out the verdict.

The five activists Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves and Gautam Navlakha, were in jail since 29th August. The police claimed to have proof of the arrested activists’ involvement in an event called Elgaar Parishad that later triggered violence at Bhima-Koregaon in Maharashtra.

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