NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the stay on release of Mahesh Raut, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case from jail.
The top court admitted an appeal filed by the National Investigation Agency against the Bombay High Court order granting him bail.
A bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi extended the stay till the next date of hearing on October 5.
The High Court, while allowing the bail, has stayed the order to let the NIA file an appeal in the top court.
On behalf of the NIA, Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, along with advocate Kanu Agarwal asked the court to extend the stay granted by the high court.
The bench said it will admit the plea and hear the matter.
"Leave granted. List on October 5, 2023. The stay already granted by Bombay High Court on operation of judgment and order shall continue until the next date of hearing," the bench said in its order.
Raut's counsel said his client has been granted bail after five-and-half-years and he was a fellow in Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
The matter is fully covered by the Supreme Court's order in Vernon Gonsalves matter, the counsel.
Raju, for his part, asked the court to extend the stay for one week.
Raut, a land rights activist working in Gadchiroli area, had approached the high court with an appeal seeking regular bail in 2022 after the special NIA court rejected his bail plea in November 2021.
The counsel, representing Raut in the high court, had submitted that he is not a member of the banned CPI (Maoist).
Raut's counsel also submitted that he is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellowship. The counsel contended that the trial in the case has not commenced and it will take considerable time as the NIA has listed 336 witnesses in the case.
Opposing the bail, the NIA had argued before the high court that Raut as per letters found on the computer of a co-accused, was involved in Maoist activities having direct impact on unity, integrity and sovereignty of India.
While granting bail to Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case, the Supreme Court had on July 28 made damning observations against the NIA and the Bhima Koregaon case.
It had said no material has been demonstrated by the NIA that the appellants are members of the terrorist organisation.
The court had said that mere possession of the literature, even if the content thereof inspires or propagates violence, by itself cannot constitute any of the offences within Chapters IV and VI of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Raut, 35, was arrested on June 6, 2018 and is currently lodged at Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai.