Elgar Parishad case: No default bail for Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Fereira

Mumbai: In a set back for three accused in the Elgar Parishad case, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday rejected their review application seeking default bail.

The three — Varavav Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira– had also sought factual corrections in the order refusing them default bail last December.

A division bench of Justice SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar rejected their plea observing: “No case for exercise of review jurisdiction is made out. A point which was not urged, is impermissible to be reviewed.”

On December 1, 2021, the HC had refused to grant default bail to the trio and five other co-accused in the case observing that they had not filed their bail pleas before the special court within the stipulated time of 60 days after their arrest and before filing of the charge sheet.

The HC had further said although the Pune Sessions judge who extended their custody after 60 days was not a designated special judge, the accused were not entitled to relief.

The High Court had, however granted default bail to another accused Sudha Bhardwaj in the same order.

The eight accused had then filed review petition through advocate R Sathyanarayanan contending that they were denied default bail because of a factual error as they too had applied for bail just like Bhardwaj within the stipulated period.

The NIA, through their counsel Sandesh Patil, had opposed the plea stating that once the petition was decided on merit, the accused could not have filed review petition. He argued that the accused should have filed an appeal before the Supreme Court instead.

Other than Bhardwaj, Rao is currently out on medical bail since February 2021. The HC has regularly extended his medical bail. On April 14, the HC rejected Rao’s permanent medical bail plea observing that the Telugu poet’s clinical summary showed he did not need continued medical care. As such a medical summary went against Rao’s interest, it was only natural for him to “find ways and means to wriggle out of the medical report” and dispute its findings, HC had observed.

The National Investigation Agency booked 16 civil liberties activists under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and UAPA.

The 16th arrested accused, Father Stan Swamy, passed away on July 5 2021, ahead of his bail hearing.

The Investigating Agency has accused them of plotting to overthrow the Government and of being members of front organisations of the banned CPI (Maoists). They are further accused of furthering the CPI (Maoist) agenda and causing the caste violence at the Bhima Koregaon war memorial on January 1, 2018, through the Elgar Parishad event held a day prior.

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