The Sessions Court at Pune on Saturday ordered the release of Bhima Koregaon accused Anand Teltumbde hours after he was arrested by the Pune Police from Mumbai airport.
According to reports, Sessions Court Judge KD Vadane said that Teltumbde’s arrest was illegal and in violation of a Supreme Court order which granted the Dalit activist interim protection till 11 February.
Teltumbde’s lawyer Nahar had challenged his arrest on the ground that it was illegal.
“Pune Police has violated the SC order that specifically gave protection to Teltumbde for four weeks that lapse on February 11, 2019,” he argued.
Speaking to reporters after the court’s order, Teltumbde said, “I welcome the decision. But what police has done, the arrest and all the drama, is objectionable.”
He can also approach the competent authority for bail or pre-arrest bail.
His arrest came after the Pune Sessions Court rejected Teltumbde’s anticipatory bail application.
According to reports, the police had opposed his plea for an anticipatory bail saying that it was “necessary to allow sufficient opportunity to the investigating agency to collect the evidence”.
Additional Sessions Judge Kishor Vadane had then observed that an investigating officer has collected sufficient material “to show the involvement of the present accused (Teltumbde) in the alleged commission of the offence”.
Teltumbde, a professor at Goa Institute of Management was interrogated and later arrested, said Shivaji Bodkhe, Joint Commissioner of Pune Police.
According to police, Maoists had supported the ‘Elgar Parishad’ conclave held in Pune on 31 December 2017, and inflammatory speeches made there led to violent clashes at the Koregaon Bhima war memorial the next day.
The Maharashtra police had in August last year arrested five activists – Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha — after an FIR was lodged against them following the ‘Elgar Parishad’ conclave.
A major raid was conducted across five states in which Teltumbde’s home in Goa was also searched.
The Bhima-Koregaon violence had left one person dead and ended with Maharashtra shutdown on 3 January.