Gautam Navlakha
Activist Gautam Navlakha.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the application of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to recall its order allowing the house arrest of activist Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon violence case.

The NIA on Friday urged the Supreme Court to scrap the house arrest ruling, alleging that it had been “misled” by Navlakha’s defence.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who sought the recall of the order of Navlakha’s house arrest, told the court, “The message that goes out is that though Article 14 says all are equal, some are more than equal,” according to Indian Express.

Justice K M Joseph, who presided over the bench which delivered the house arrest order said that all conditions that the Additional Solicitor General S V Raju wanted to be incorporated were included, and “in that sense, it was an agreed order.”

70-year-old Gautam Navlakha has not been moved out of prison even a week after the Supreme Court order.

The NIA, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, raised concerns about the safety of the location chosen by Navlakha’s team and urged the court to scrap the house arrest ruling, ND TV reported.

Reacted sharply to the objections, Justice Joseph said, “Is Solicitor General Mehta and ASG (Additional Solicitor General SV Raju) here to say that the police can’t keep a watch on an ailing 70-year-old man?”

When the NIA sought time till Monday, Justice Joseph snapped, “You think we cannot see through attempts to delay the case? For what purpose will we post on Monday? We are passing an order.”

As the agency alleged that Navlakha has terror links, Justice Hrishikesh Roy said, “So? You say you cannot monitor then we will. When SG and ASG standing here saying can’t keep a 70-year-old ailing man in confinement. With all the might of the state… Is the state incapable of taking care? You can’t take care so let us take care.”

Navlakha has been in jail since April 2020 in a case related to violence at Maharashtra’s Koregaon-Bhima on January 1 a day after alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at an Elgar Parishad conclave.

Last week, responding to his request on health grounds, the Supreme Court allowed him house arrest for a month and said the order must be implemented within 48 hours.

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