MUMBAI: It has emerged that while hearing the bail petition of Bhima Koregaon case accused Vernon Gonsalves on Wednesday, the book that the Bombay High Court referred to was actually a compilation of essays edited by Biswajit Roy titled War and Peace in Junglemaha: People, State and Maoists and not the Leo Tolstoy classic.
Yug Chaudhary, an advocate representing another accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, told the high court on Thursday that it was wrongly reported by the media that the court raised questions on the accused keeping a copy of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
"The book found in the 'punchnama' of accused Vernon Gonsalves is War and Peace in Junglemahal: People, State and Maoists, which is edited by Biswajit Roy. Not the War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy,” Chaudhary said.
While referring to the reporting of the court proceedings on Wednesday, Justice Sarang Kotwal on Thursday clarified that he knows Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace is a literary classic and that he didn’t mean to suggest that all the books seized by Pune police in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case were incriminating.
The observation came in light of media reports that said the judge asked accused Vernon Gonsalves to explain why he kept "objectionable material" like a copy of Leo Tolstoy’s "War and Peace" at his home.
The court said what has been reported is disturbing for the institution (Bombay High Court). Justice Kotwal said he is “shocked” to know about what has been reported.
The comments came after the counsel for Gonsalves informed the court that none of the books seized from the activist’s residence last year were banned by the government in accordance with CrPC provisions.
Justice Kotwal then said, "You have made your point about the books not being banned. Besides, yesterday, I was reading the whole list from the charge sheet. It was written in such poor handwriting. I know War and Peace [by Leo Tolstoy]. I was making a query on the entire list that police has mentioned [as evidence]".
Yug Chaudhary, who is counsel for co-accused Sudha Bharadwaj, then told the court that the War and Peace that the court had referred to on Wednesday was a collection of essays edited by one Biswajit Roy, and was titled War and Peace in Junglemahal: People, State and Maoists.