The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the National Investigation Agency (NIA)'s a petition against the bail plea of Professor Anand Teltumbde in the Elgar Parishad conclave in Pune’s Bhima-Koregaon on December 31, 2017. The petition challenged the Bombay High Court's order on November 18 to grant Teltumbde bail.
However, a bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli however added that the High Court's observations will not be treated as the final conclusion in the trial.
The high court stayed its bail order for a week so that the NIA could approach the Supreme Court. Teltumbde, who is currently in jail, will now be released following the apex court’s rejection of NIA’s appeal.
During the hearing today, the CJI asked ASG Aishwarya Bhati appearing for the NIA, "What is the specific role to bring UAPA sections into action? The IIT Madras event you alleged is for Dalit mobilisation.s Dalit mobilisation preparatory act to proscribed activity?"
Bhati tried to persuade the Bench saying that Teltumbde was part of Maoist activists and was an active member of a proscribed organisation involved in propagation of ideology, funding and preparation of violent attacks on the citizens
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Teltumbde said that the material, on which the NIA was relying, was not recoverable. He further added that there was no document to show that he attended the event.
Who is Professor Anand Teltumbde?
Professor Teltumbde, besides being a renowned scholar, is also married to Rama Teltumbde, who is the granddaughter of B R Ambedkar. The professor was arrested in April 2020 for his alleged Maoist links. However, the Pune police raided his house in 2018 when he was not there.
Earlier, the case was being investigated by the Maharashtra police. In 2019, the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikash Agadi government came to power and the newly appointed Chief Minister was expected to close the Elgar Parishad cases, it was transferred to NIA.
The scholar was arrested following a case registered by Tushar Damugade in 2018 at Vishrambagh Police Station, Pune. The complaint said that the programme called by Elgar Parishad held at Shaniwar Wada in Pune on December 31, 2017, witnessed huge participation of cultural activists and scholars who allegedly gave provocative speeches that led to the violence the next day resulting in one death and several injuries.
However, Teltumbde clearly said that he though a co-invitee, was not present in the programme. Every year on January 1, people of the marginalised Mahad community gather at Bhima Koregaon to celebrate their victory against upper caste king Peshwa Bajirao II in 1818. It also coincided 200 years of their celebrated victory.