“He was immediately taken to a building in Navi Mumbai’s Belapur-Agroli area by a police team where he would be staying. Navlakha left the prison around 6 pm,” a senior prison official revealed.
On Friday afternoon, the Supreme Court had rejected the NIA’s application opposing his house arrest. It had ordered that Navlakha be placed under house arrest “without fail” within 24 hours.
His release from Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai after more than two years came nine days after the Supreme Court earlier this month granted his plea seeking house arrest on medical grounds.
At around 6:00 p.m., Navlakha, 70, left the prison. He was taken by a police team to the residence he would be residing at in Navi Mumbai’s Belapur-Agroli neighbourhood.
Ahead of this, judge Rajesh Katariya of the special court for National Investigation Agency (NIA) cases here issued his ‘release memo’. The ground-plus-two Comrade B T Randive Building belongs to the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and houses a public library on the ground floor. The 70-year-old activist who claims to be suffering from multiple ailments was in jail since April 2020 after his arrest in the 2017-18 case.
On November 10, the Supreme Court, in response to his application, directed that he be put under house arrest for a month with certain conditions. The order should be implemented within 48 hours, the court said. But the NIA, which is probing the Elgar case, moved the apex court again contending that Navlakha, being a charge-sheeted accused in a case involving threat to the national security and integrity, did not deserve any relaxation. On Friday afternoon the SC maintained its November 10 order and said he must be put under house arrest within 24 hours.
The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the ‘Elgar Parishad’ conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which Pune police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.
According to police, people linked to banned CPI (Maoists) had organized the programme. The case, in which over a dozen activists and academicians have been named as accused, was later handed over to the NIA.
Inputs from PTI