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Bombay High Court raps police for revealing evidence of activists

The Bombay high court on Monday pulled up Maharashtra police for holding a press conference and revealing information pertaining to five left-wing activists arrested in Bhima-Koregaon violence, last year. The accused are now under house arrest in Pune in the wake of a Supreme Court order. Justice Shinde and Justice Bhatkar of the Bombay high court said, “How can an investigation officer reveal investigation details when matter the is sub judice in the Supreme Court? And revealing information pertaining to the case is wrong”. The court also said how the police could read out such documents, which may be used as evidence in the case.

Pune police had arrested activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut in June while probing the alleged Maoist connection with the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31 last year.

Inflammatory speeches at the event led to violence at Koregaon Bhima near Pune on the next day, police had alleged. Last Tuesday, police arrested five more Left-wing activists — Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navalakha — from different places in the country.

The Supreme Court later ordered that the five be kept under house arrest till September 6.

On Friday, Additional D.G. Parambir Singh held a press conference and alleged that the accused has Maoist and Naxalite links. Meanwhile, the accused’s lawyer informed the court that approval of the Central government is necessary when UAPA is invoked against the accused and accused are ready to intervene in the petition. The HC then asked the petitioner to give a copy to the accused’s lawyer.

The high court was hearing a petition filed on Friday by one Satish Gaikwad, who claims to be a victim of the Koregaon Bhima violence. He sought a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the case. Gaikwad urged the high court to restrain the Pune police from further probing the case, and stay the investigation.

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