Supreme Court, on November 18, 2022, refused NIA’s plea to recall its house arrest order of activist Gautam Navlakha.
The court also ordered additional security measures to be put in place where Mr. Navlakha will be lodged under house arrest.
The apex court directed activist Gautam Navlakha to be placed under house arrest within 24 hours after shifting him from Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai.
NIA on November 17, 2022 moved the Supreme Court seeking vacation of its order allowing the plea of jailed activist Gautam Navlakha, incarcerated in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case, to be put under house arrest.
Contending Navlakha need not be given any special treatment, the NIA said in its application that he being a charge-sheeted accused in a case involving threat to national security and integrity, does not deserve any extra leeway.
The anti-terror agency, while referring to the evidence on record, claimed Navlakha was working in urban areas and assigned the job to unite intellectuals against government forces to defeat them.
“From the investigation carried out, it is established that the petitioner delivered speeches at different forums & programmes on many issues related to the Kashmiri separatist movement and Maoist movement and supported it.
“During scrutiny of the documents seized from the petitioner it is evident that they are related to CPI (Maoist) strategic documents, documents in connection with the formation of the CPI (Maoist) party, important press releases of CPI (Maoist) party, critical secret communications with underground senior leaders of the party which establishes his deep involvement in the activities of CPI (Maoist) party,” the agency said in its plea.
Alleging that Mr. Navlakha’s medical report of Jaslok hospital is “vitiated”, the agency said proper treatment has been given to him whenever required, and his condition is manageable within the premises of Taloja central jail.
“It is submitted that it is clear from the publicly available record that Dr. S. Kothari has been associated with Jaslok Hospital since 1979 i.e. about 43 years. It is not unreasonable to assume that the said doctor, being on a very senior position in the said hospital, would yield considerable influence in the said hospital.
“It is submitted that considering the fact that a senior doctor of the said hospital is directly related to the petitioner and was a part of the (team) preparing medical report of the petitioner, that a clear case of personal bias vitiates the said report has been made out by the respondent,” it said.
The agency said it has come to light that Navlakha is an active member of CPI (Maoist) and has “deep links” with the organisation.
He espouses Maoist ideology and anti-government utterances through his various lectures and videos make it evident, it said.
“It is reiterated that the Petitioner is a charge-sheeted accused in a serious case involving unlawful activities under the UAPA including but not limited to working for the banned organization – CPI-Maoist, recruiting members for the said banned organization and further liaison with ISI Pakistan.
“The special court has taken cognizance and is at the stage of framing of charge and the High court has expedited the trial and ordered the same to be conducted on a day to day basis. In light of the same, it is requested that the Petitioner ought not be allowed to avail the special facility of house arrest and be treated in the manner that all such accused of such serious offences are treated with across the country,” it said.