Prima facie case against Teltumbde cannot be released on bail under UAPA provisions, special court finds

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In its detailed order rejecting the release on bail of former IIT professor and scholar Anand Teltumbde, arrested in the Elgar Parishad case, a special court said he could not be released while there was a “prima facie” case against him under the Prevention of Illegal Activities Act (UAPA). ).

Special Judge Dinesh E Kothalikar had Monday denied bail application of Teltumbde, 70, who has been behind bars since April 14, 2020.

In the detailed 40-page order made available on Friday, the court said: “After reviewing the documents, including the exchange of emails and witness statements relied on by the prosecution, and after checking the veracity of the allegations made against the applicant, this court does not consider the accusations to be inherently improbable or totally unbelievable.

He said he had to consider the endorsement under UAPA Section 43D (5) which states that if there are reasonable grounds to believe the charge is prima facie true, the accused cannot be released on bail.

Two days before his death, on July 5, Father Stan Swamy, co-accused of Teltumbde in the case, appealed to the Bombay High Court to challenge the constitutionality of this provision, claiming that the presumption of innocence was reversed in because of it and that it violated rights.

Special Prosecutor Prakash Shetty, representing the National Investigation Agency (NIA), opposed Teltumbde’s request for bail, alleging that he was an active member of the banned CPI (Maoist) organization and that he was advancing his program. He also claimed that a witness statement showed Teltumbde was in contact with his brother, Milind, named in the indictment as a fugitive defendant, and alleged to be responsible for the organization. The NIA claimed that the witness further stated that Milind told him that he was inspired by Teltumbde to join the organization.

Teltumbde’s attorney, Sudeep Pasbola, objected to the pitch, saying it was hearsay evidence.

The court, however, accepted the prosecution’s arguments. “… the wanted accused (Milind) is the best person to state by whose conduct or activities he was impressed and, therefore, in my opinion, the statement made by the wanted accused that he been impressed by the applicant for continuing the activities of a banned terrorist organization may be considered relevant, ”the court said.

The court reviewed 11 documents, including emails and letters, submitted by the prosecution, as well as witness statements.

The NIA also referred to an email from Teltumbde about a signature campaign with various authorities, including the President, Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Maharashtra in 2019, to gain support from various layers. of the company while he was arrested in this case. The SPP called this Teltumbde’s attempt to exert pressure.

While Pasbola argued that the documents referred to by the NIA are not admissible as evidence, the court said there were no plans to conduct a “traveling investigation” at the stage of deciding on a plea of release on bail, and that this would amount to a “mini-trial”.

The court also took into account previous orders against Teltumbde, including the Pune court denying him early bail and the Bombay High Court court order dismissing his plea to quash the FIR.

While Pasbola argued that the previous orders could not affect his current bail plea, the court said that “it is not possible to register a contrary finding” (with the orders earlier).

The NIA in its indictment alleged that Teltumbde used to attend international conferences and bring in “foreign Maoist literature” to be used for training purposes of CPI (Maoist) members. Teltumbde had said that his participation in these conferences was public information, with the expenses being borne by the universities that invited him due to his university education. Teltumbde had also stated that he was from a Dalit family and despite being from a poor family, through hard work, achieved academic position in life.

The court said, however, that his degree and social background could not be taken into account when deciding his bail application.


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