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Koregaon Violence Case : Activist Gautam Navlakha released from jail, to be placed under house arrest

New Delhi: 70-year-old activist Gautam Navlakha, jailed since 2020 in the Koregaon-Bhima case, was released today in line with the Supreme Court order for his house arrest. A special court in Mumbai issued a release memo to facilitate his month-long house arrest.

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

New Delhi: 70-year-old activist Gautam Navlakha, jailed since 2020 in the Koregaon-Bhima case, was released today in line with the Supreme Court order for his house arrest. A special court in Mumbai issued a release memo to facilitate his month-long house arrest.

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The special court hearing cases related to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) issued the release memo around 2.15 p.m. on November 19. The court had ordered the National Investigation Agency (NIA) yesterday to move him to house arrest, rejecting the agency’s argument that he had “deliberately misled” the court regarding his health.

Mr Navlakha has been in jail since April 2020 in a case related to violence at Maharashtra’s Koregaon-Bhima on January 1 — a day after alleged inflammatory speeches were delivered at an Elgar Parishad conclave. The investigating agency on Nov. 19 submitted to the special court in Mumbai the compliance report about completing the release formalities of the activist, after which the court issued the release memo, which will then be mailed to the jail authorities and the Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner.

The Pune police had claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists. The court ordered last week that he be shifted to house arrest within 48 hours. But the release was delayed, to which the court reacted sharply yesterday, accusing the NIA of “delaying tactics”.

However, the NIA had moved the apex court earlier this week seeking vacation of its order for house arrest, saying Mr. Navlakha, being a charge-sheeted accused in a case involving threat to national security and integrity, does not deserve any extra leeway. On Friday, the SC, however, went ahead with its November 10 order of placing the activist under house arrest.

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The case against Mr. Navlakha relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the ‘Elgar Parishad’ conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.

According to the Pune police, people linked to banned naxalite groups had organised the programme. The case, in which over a dozen activists and academicians have been named as accused, was later handed over to the NIA.

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