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Bhima Koregaon Case: SC rejects plea for SIT probe; extend activists house arrest for 4 weeks

New Delhi | The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the plea for a SIT (Special Investigation Team) probe in the Bhima Koregaon Violence while extending the house arrest of the activist for another 4 weeks.

The Apex court bench in 2:1 judgement dismissed the plea while justice Chandrachund observed dissent holding the arrests to be baseless. Justice Kanwilkar reading the majority judgement said, “It is not a case of arrest because of dissent.” He further added that the investigation officers are permitted to continue with the investigation.

Obersvering his dissent Justice Chandrachund said, “The Maharashtra police was biased and cannot be trusted. Therefore, he held that a court-monitored investigation by SIT was necessary.” He further added that Court has to be vigilant to ensure the liberty of those who take up unpopular causes. Voices of opposition cannot be muzzled because it is a dissent.

The top court bench was hearing the petition filed by historian Romila Thappar against the arrest of 5 activist Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Gautam Navlakha and P Varavara Rao in the Bhima Koregaon Violence by the Pune Police. The petition demanded a Court-monitored SIT probe in the matter as the arrests were made without a shred of evidence and alleged that an emergency-like situation existed in the country.

The bench also criticised Maharastra Police for holding a press conference on the case. Justice Khanwilkar said, “There are serious concern and cloud over the probe over police action for briefing and using the electronic media for media trial.” The 3 judges further ordered the house arrest of the activist to extend for another 4 weeks till the disposal of the petition.

The Maharashtra police had arrested the rights activists on August 28 in connection with an FIR lodged following in case of ‘Elgaar Parishad’ held on December 31 last year which triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima village.

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