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Bhima-Koregaon case: House arrest of Gautam Navlakha ended by Delhi High Court

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The Delhi High Court on Monday allowed Gautam Navlakha, one of the five rights activists arrested in connection with Bhima-Koregaon case, to be freed from house arrest.

The high court granted him the relief saying that the Supreme Court last week had given him the liberty to approach the appropriate forum within four weeks to seek relief, which he has availed.

The high court also quashed the trial court’s transit remand order which he had challenged before the matter was taken to the apex court.

The court said Navlakha’s detention has exceeded 24 hours which was “untenable”.

On Friday The Supreme Court refused to interfere in the arrest of the five human rights activists in the Bhima Koregaon case and rejected the demand for a court-monitored probe in the matter. The five activists — Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, and Gautam Navlakha — will continue to remain under house arrest for four more weeks. The court, however, said they move the trial court for relief.

On August 28, Pune police teams raided the houses of activists in Mumbai, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Delhi and Faridabad and arrested five in alleged connection to a Maoist plot.

Activist Sudha Bhardwaj from Faridabad, Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, activists Gautam Navlakha from Delhi, Arun Pereira and Venon Gonsalves from Mumbai have been detained by the police.

The Maharashtra Police defended the arrests of five human rights activists alleging ‘connection to Maoists’ before the Supreme Court of India by saying that the investigation was based on “cogent evidence”.

The defense was in response to a plea which had been filed by Romila Thapar and four others. The police accused the activists of planning to carry out violence, planned ambush against country and security forces.

“Activists were not arrested because of their dissenting opinion, there is sufficient material to dispel this impression,” the Maharashtra Police said.

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