MUMBAI: While stating that the entire case probing Maoist links in the Bhima-Koregaon violence needs a thorough investigation, the Bombay High Court on Friday refused to quash the case against rights activist Gautam Navlakha.
The court noted that there was prima facie substance in the case.
"The offence is not limited to Bhima-Koregaon violence. There are many more facets to it. Hence, we feel investigation is required," a division bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre said.
"Considering the magnitude of the case, we feel a thorough investigation is required," the court said further adding that thecase is not without basis and absence of material.
The bench dismissed the petition filed by Navlakha seeking to quash the FIR lodged against him by the Pune police in January 2018 after the Elgar Parishad held on December 31, 2017 that had allegedly triggered violence at Koregaon Bhima in Pune district the next day.
The police had also alleged that Navlakha and other accused in the case had Maoist links and were working towards overthrowing the government.
After the bench pronounced its judgment, Navlakha's counsel Yug Chaudhary sought an extension of the interim protection from arrest granted to Navlakha by the high court after he had filed the petition.
The bench agreed and extended the protection from arrest to Navlakha for a period of three weeks to enable him to approach the Supreme Court in appeal against the HC order.
Navlakha's lawyer Yug Chaudhary had argued that the activist was in the past appointed as a mediator by the government of India when Naxals had kidnapped six policemen and that he is in contact with Naxals but that is only for his books and other fact-finding research.
"How can this contact attract provisions of the UAPA," Chaudhary said.