As per Wednesday’s order, the Supreme Court asked the NIA to inform it on Thursday about the restrictions it wants in place if the court decides to accept Gautam Navlakha’s request to be placed under house arrest in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case.
It came after the agency vigorously opposed Navlakha’s plea, which claimed that Navlakha was “in contact with Kashmiri extremists” and the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI.
Navlakha is also able to write emails, etc., which cannot be prevented by house arrest, according to the agency.
A US court document allegedly linking Navlakha to ISI agent Ghulam Nabi Fai, who was convicted in the US for accepting funds from ISI, suggests that Fai introduced Navlakha to an ISI general for recruitment on behalf of ISI.
However, the bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy stated that house arrest had already been recognized as a form of custody. It is unclear when you will be able to convict. Please let us know what restrictions you would like to place. In addition, it is not as if it will last forever. We will try him out… It is not as if he is in excellent health.
According to Navlakha, he suffered from dental problems and allergies and wanted to undergo a colonoscopy because he suspected he had cancer.
Navlakha’s senior counsel Kapil Sibal stated that the charge sheet had been filed in October 2020. However, charges had not yet been framed.
According to the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) S V Raju, appearing for the NIA, the delay is part of a “well-planned strategy” by the accused to delay the trial.
Every day, applications are filed; this not only hinders investigations (but) also hinders the trial’s progress, according to Raju. As a result of your holding that my problem will not proceed, you grant me bail so that the trial does not proceed… As an investigation officer, you must travel from court to court, prepare affidavits, etc. “This isn’t natural.”
Raju urged the bench to obtain the lower court’s records “and see how many applications are filed almost daily”. According to him, there are 16 discharge applications pending. The tactic adopted by the prosecution is that he will not be granted bail based on the case’s merits. As a result, they go to court and request a delay in the trial. Who is responsible for the delay? You are filing one discharge application after another to delay the problem.”
As he put it, “you have to get bail by hook or crook; that is the strategy – if you do not get it regularly, you should seek medical attention.”.
When Justice Joseph asked why NIA could not control Navlakha’s activities when he was under house arrest, he replied, “Constables will be posted.”
According to Raju, “the offense is very serious…it will be very difficult to control in the house.” Police officers will not be posted in the house but outside, not on his bed or anywhere else.
According to Sibal, the charge against Navlakha was that he interacted with Maoists. This individual works in the field of research; he has interacted with Maoists, but he is not pro-Maoist. As a human rights activist, he is active in the field of human rights.
Raju, however, referred to materials produced by the NIA as “their ideology is such that they wish to destroy the country.”. This does not mean that they are innocent people. Rather, they are individuals who are engaged in actual warfare against the country.”.
After Justice Joseph’s remarks, he asked, “Who is destroying this country?”? Are you interested in hearing what I have to say?
Individuals who are corrupt. How does every office function…who takes action against the corrupt?… We saw a video where people talk about crores of rupees to buy our so-called elected representatives…. Are you saying that is good, that they are not doing anything against our country?”
According to Raju, the affidavit cited letters exchanged between Navlakha and top Maoist Katkam Sudharshan, alias Anand. According to the NIA, Navlakha also wrote a letter in which he purportedly wrote, “I believe you have received reports about young activists from Delhi, Mumbai, and CG [Chhattisgarh] who are prepared to join and assist the Maoist revolution.”
The agency informed the court that he is actively supporting guerrilla movements, which has resulted in the death of many of our jawans [paramilitary personnel].. We are dealing with violent revolutionary training here. It is not as if we picked up a random individual – he is connected to the Maoist party in a significant way.”
However, Sibal stated that there is no evidence to support the allegations made by the NIA.
The court resolved that the matter would be heard again on Thursday to consider the request of Navlakha.