‘Jail officials took away mosquito net’: Gautam Navlakha approaches NIA court


Mumbai: Human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, who has been arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon violence case, has approached the special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court seeking a mosquito net, alleging that the net he was using was taken away by the prison authorities.

Navlakha, who was arrested on August 28, 2018, from his residence in New Delhi, has been presently lodged in Taloja jail for his alleged role as one of the conspirators in the Elgar Parishad case.

“Navlakha is undergoing treatment for several health issues and was recommended by the doctor to use mosquito net in the prison,” said Navlakha’s partner Sahba Hussain.

She said on the recommendation of the hospital, Navlakha was provided with a net. “However, suddenly the prison officials took it, citing certain rules. The area has a lot of mosquitoes and our biggest worry is that monsoon is approaching soon,” Hussain added.

Hussain further said that one of the other co-accused in the case is said to be on hunger strike. She claimed that she was informed through others about his strike.

Navlakha was first arrested by the Pune police on August 28, 2018, but the Delhi High court quashed his arrest on October 1, 2018. The prosecution had alleged that till August 2018 he was a member of CPI (Maoist).

Since his release in October 2018, Navlakha had approached courts for anticipatory bail before the Bombay high court fearing that he would be arrested again by the police.

In the meantime, the probe of the case was transferred from Maharashtra police to NIA in January 2020, when the order on the anticipatory bail plea was still pending before the Bombay high court.

The plea was rejected and later the Supreme Court too refused to grant him any protection directing him to surrender before the agency. Following the order of the apex court, Navlakha surrendered on April 14, 2020, in Delhi.

An FIR was lodged against Navlakha and others in January 2018 after the Elgar Parishad held on December 31, 2017, allegedly triggered violence at Koregaon Bhima in the Pune district the next day.

Navlakha and the other accused were booked under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code. It is alleged that Navlakha and other activists were part of a larger conspiracy which lead to the violence.

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