The Pune Police told the Bombay High Court on Tuesday that it will not arrest activist Anand Teltumbde till February 12 midnight, even as the Dalit scholar termed the case a ploy to "humiliate" and "harass" him. The statement was made by the state's counsel Aruna Pai on behalf of the Pune Police before a bench of Justice N W Sambre.
The court was hearing an application filed by Teltumbde seeking anticipatory bail in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case. Teltumbde is an accused in the case, which was filed following violent clashes at Koregaon-Bhima village near Pune on January 1, 2018.
He was booked on several charges, including sections under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Justice Sambre on Tuesday directed Pai to give an oral undertaking as a pre-condition for securing time to file an affidavit opposing Teltumbde's plea.
The court said it would hear the plea on February 11. Teltumbde later termed the police's case against him and several other social activists as "harassment" and a ploy to "humiliate" them.
"The police does not want to investigate the case... they just want to harass and humiliate us. I have been cooperating with the investigation since long. I don't understand why this sudden move to arrest me," he told reporters here. Teltumbde was arrested last week after a Pune court rejected his pre-arrest bail plea. He was, however, ordered to be released a day later on Saturday (February 2) following a court order.
He approached the high court on Monday seeking anticipatory bail and said he had no role to play in the case. When the plea was heard on Tuesday by Justice Sambre, advocate Pai sought for it to be dismissed on the ground that UAPA Section 43D(4) bars granting anticipatory bail to an accused.
Pai also pointed out that earlier last year, Teltumbde, who the police claim has Maoist links, filed another plea in the high court denying all charges against him and urged the court to quash the FIR against him in the case. However, another bench rejected the plea.
"The HC bench rejected the plea after analysing all evidence against him. That, too, should be a valid ground to dismiss the anticipatory bail application," Pai said. Teltumbde's counsel Mihir Desai said the law provided for anticipatory bail even under the UAPA in "exceptional cases".
Pai asked the court to grant her time to put her arguments on an affidavit. Justice Sambre granted her time till February 9 to file the affidavit after she assured the court that Teltumbde would not be arrested till February 12, considering that the Supreme Court had granted the activist time till February 11 to exhaust all his legal remedies seeking protection from arrest.
Teltumbde was arrested from the Mumbai airport last Saturday around 3 am. His arrest was deemed illegal by a sessions court and he was released from custody.
Teltumbde was booked following an Elgar Parishad event on December 31, 2017, which, the police alleged, triggered violent clashes the next day at Koregaon-Bhima village in Pune district. According to police, the event was funded and supported by Maoists.
At the event, some activists made inflammatory speeches and provocative statements that contributed to the January 1 violence, they had said. Several activists were named in the FIR. Some of them, including Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, P Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha, were initially put under house arrest on the directions of the Supreme Court.
All of them, except Navlakha, were recently re-arrested and taken into custody by police. In October last year, Pune Police registered another FIR, naming eight more activists, including Teltumbde and Stan Swamy.