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Special NIA Court Rejects bail appliaction of Professor Anand Teltumbde: Bhima Koregaon Case

Bhima Koregaon Case

On 12th July, 2021 (Monday), a Special NIA Court denied former IIT professor and academic Anand Teltumbde's bail appeal in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case, which was filed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

On 6th July, 2021, Special Judge DE Kothalikar reserved the application for orders. Teltumbde, 70, was apprehended by the NIA on 14th April, 2018, after surrendering to the agency in accordance with Supreme Court instructions and filing a merits bail application before a special court on 13th January, 2021.

Teltumbde is indicted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) of being the Convenor of the Elgar Parishad meeting on 31st December, 2017, which reportedly led to unrest at Bhima Koregaon the next day, culminating in one person's death.

The investigation into the violence was broadened to include a plot to murder the Prime Minister and undermine the country's democracy.

Teltumbde is an active participant of the outlawed CPI (Maoists), according to the NIA, and was “seriously committed in furthering its goal.” The NIA further accused Teltumbde of encouraging his brother, Milind, a wanted Maoist leader, to join the protest and of sharing “illegal literature” from his overseas meetings with him, in opposition to his bail application.

Milind Teltumbde is the claimed Secretary of the outlawed CPI's (Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh) section (M). In his bail plea, Anand Teltumbde, a Dalit scholar married to Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar's granddaughter Rama, stated that he is opposed to Maoist philosophy and hasn't spoken to his brother in 25 years.

Teltumbde said that comments made by two protected witnesses were prima facie coached with a frantic attempt to support the prosecution's case. He said that he went to Pune on the day of the Elgar Parishad meeting, but claimed he departed before it started.

Teltumbde's case was contested by Advocate Sudeep Pasbola, who was advised by Advocate R Sathyanarayan, while the NIA was defended by Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Shetty.

NIA highlighted a letter sent by Prakash to Anand, which was seized from co-accused Rona Wilson's laptop in their response. “Anand's visit to Paris for the Human Rights Convention to be held on 9th  and 10th April, 2018 and talks on Dalit problems in order to provide traction to domestic instability,”according to the letter. The only internal upheaval connected to Dalit concerns at this time was the Koregaon-Bhima tragedy. The message concluded with exhortations to their intellectual compatriots to keep the torch burning brightly.

According to Teltumbde, the paper was discovered from Wilson's computer, but there was no evidence that he received or acted on the letter. Whilst he did attend a conference in Paris, there was proof that the event's organisers paid for his attendance. In reality, the organisers filed a complaint with the French embassy in response to the charges made against the University.

Numerous contentious documents, which allegedly mention a conspiracy to kill the Prime Minister and overthrow the government and are at the heart of the investigation into the 16 academics, lawyers, and human rights activists charged in the case, have come under scrutiny after a digital forensics consulting firm in the United States reached the conclusion that they were installed.

As per Arsenal Consulting, Wilson and advocate Surendra Gadling's computers were infected with Net Wire malware (available for $10 online), which was installed via emails many months before their capture.

Wilson has petitioned the Bombay High Court to create a SIT to examine the insertion of these papers.

Teltumbde, along with 14 other activists, is charged under sections 121, 121A, 124A, 153A, 505(1)(b), 117, 120b r/w 34 of the IPC and sections 13,16,17,18,18-B,20,38,39, and 40 of the UAPA. Last Monday (5th July), Father Stan Swamy, the 16th accuser to be indicted, expired.

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