Bhima Koregaon: Police plan to re-arrest advocate Gadling if he gets bail, says lawyer

The Maharashtra police plan to re-arrest advocate Surendra Gadling if he is granted bail, senior advocate Indira Jaising told the Supreme Court on Monday. Gadling was among five lawyers and activists arrested in June for their alleged role in the caste violence that followed the commemoration of a 200-year-old battle near Bhima Koregaon on January 1.

In a production warrant dated November 12, of which has a copy, the Gadchiroli police have summoned Gadling for interrogation in a 2016 case in their district, in which Gadling is not listed as an accused. The charges in this case include sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Arms Act and the Indian Penal Code.

The apex court has asked Jaising to submit details of this case, including the First Information Report, by December 8. The court has also asked the advocates representing Maharashtra state to submit details of the charges against the five accused people on the same day. The next hearing in the case is listed for December 11.

The Supreme Court was hearing a challenge by the Maharashtra government to a Bombay High Court order quashing the decision of a special court in Pune to grant the Pune police an extension of 90 days to file a chargesheet against the five lawyers and activists arrested in June. In addition to Gadling, the others are Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Shoma Sen.

On October 24, the Bombay High Court quashed the special court’s decision after accepting the argument of the accused people that the state had not followed the correct procedures while arguing for an extension in filing the chargesheet. However, court also stayed the implementation of its own order until November 1 to allow the state time to contest it. On November 15, the Pune police submitted a partial chargesheet in the case to a special court in Pune.

The Maharashtra police have frequently used this strategy to keep arrested people in jail even after they got bail or were acquitted. In December 2009 and September 2011, the police re-arrested Arun Ferreira on new charges immediately after he was acquitted in cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Ferreira was acquitted of all ten charges in 2014. He is now among five other activists arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case in August.

In October 2015, the Bombay High Court ordered the Gadchiroli police to release alleged Maoist Maruti Purwatkar, who was re-arrested minutes after he was released from Nagpur Central Jail. Purwatkar had just been acquitted in three cases and received bail in three others. A month later, the Nagpur police re-arrested Right to Information Act activist Mukesh Sahu under a new case, even as he left Nagpur Central Jail after getting bail.

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