MUMBAI:The Bombay High Court on Monday rapped the Maharashtra police for holding a press conference last Friday and making public the evidence that seeks to link Left-wing activists arrested in June last week to Maoists.
During the press meet, Additional Director General (Law and Order) Parambir Singh had read out letters purportedly exchanged between the activists. He claimed the police had “conclusive proof” to link Left-wing activists arrested in June and last week to Maoists.
A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and Mridula Bhatkar questioned how the police could read out such documents which may be used as evidence in the case. “How can the police do this? The matter is sub-judice. The Supreme Court is seized of the matter. In such cases, revealing information pertaining to the case is wrong,” Justice Bhatkar said.
Public prosecutor Deepak Thakare said he would speak to the police officials concerned and seek their response.
The bench was hearing a petition filed on Friday by one Satish Gaikwad, who claims to be a victim of the Koregaon Bhima violence. He sought a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the case.
Gaikwad urged the high court to restrain the Pune police from further probing the case, and stay the investigation. The bench posted the petition for further hearing on September 7. Gaikwad in his petition also alleged that the Pune police were investigating the case unfairly and with mala fide intentions.
"It is unfortunate that the Pune police have arrested intellectual persons of society, who are social rights activists, advocates, human rights activists, poets, writers and other respectable persons," he said in the petition. Since provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act have been invoked in the case, it would be appropriate for the NIA to probe it, the petitioner said.
Police had arrested activists Sudhir Dhawale, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut in June while probing the alleged Maoist connection with the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31 last year.
Inflammatory speeches at the event led to violence at Koregaon Bhima near Pune on the next day, police had alleged.
Last Tuesday, police arrested five more Left-wing activists -- Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navalakha -- from different places in the country.
The Supreme Court later ordered that the five be kept under house arrest till September 6.
(with inputs from PTI)