By LE Staff

New Delhi, March 3: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on a plea filed by Gautam Navlakha, accused of alleged Maoist links in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, challenging the Bombay High Court order that rejected his plea seeking default bail.

A bench headed by Justice U U Lalit  took note of the brief submission of senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Navlakha, and sought the NIA’s response. It posted the matter for further hearing on March 15. 

Navlakha claimed in his petition filed through advocate Shadan Farasat that the 90-day period for filing of chargesheet was over and he was entitled to default bail under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

On February 8, the Bombay High Court had rejected the plea of the activist, who is facing serious charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for his alleged links with the banned Maoist organization Communist Party of India (Maoist).

The high court had said that “it sees no reason to interfere with a special court’s order which earlier rejected his bail plea”.

Navlakha stated in his petition that the 34 days of detention under house arrest should also be calculated as part of the custody undergone by him for the purposes of Section 167(2) CrPC.

The HC had refused to accept this plea, saying the order of keeping Navlakha under house arrest was already declared “illegal” by the Delhi High Court and hence this unlawful detention cannot be added under the period of arrest.

Navlakha was first arrested in connection with this case in August 2018 when it was being probed by the Maharashtra Police. The NIA took over the probe last year.

According to police, some activists allegedly made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements at the Elgar Parishad meet in Pune on December 31, 2017, which triggered violence at Koregaon Bhima in the district the next day.

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