Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition filed by Varavara Rao and two other activists, arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, seeking a review of an earlier order of the HC which refused them default bail.
The high court said it finds it difficult to hold there was any factual error in its earlier judgment and requires a review. ”No case for review is made out,” a division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar said.
The HC rejected the petition filed by the three accused – Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, and Vernon Gonsalves – challenging a previous order of the high court that refused to grant them default bail in the case.
Rao is currently out in medical bail, while the other two petitioners are in jail.
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The three accused had challenged a December 1, 2021 order passed by the bench led by Justice Shinde that granted default bail to lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, a co-accused in the case, but denied default bail to eight other accused persons, including the three petitioners. At that time, the HC had said the accused persons, other than Bharadwaj, had not filed their pleas seeking default bail before the lower court within the time stipulated by law. In their pleas, filed through advocates Sudeep Pasbola and R Satyanarayanan, the accused said the HC’s order was based on a ”factual error,” as it failed to note that the lower court had rejected the default bail pleas filed by Bharadwaj, the three petitioners, and two other co-accused persons through a common order.
Hence, if the HC, in granting bail to Bharadwaj, set aside the lower court order of November 6, 2019, the others too were entitled to relief.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had opposed the plea on the ground that the accused were seeking the same prayer of default bail under the guise of review, and that it was an abuse of the process of law and sets a wrong precedent. The case, now being handled by the NIA, pertains to the ‘Elgar Parishad’ conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which according to Pune police was funded by Maoists.
The inflammatory speeches made there led to violence at the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in Pune the next day, the police had alleged.