Supreme Court. (File Photo: IANS). Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, May 12 : The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a plea by activist Gautam Navlakha, who sought bail in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case of Maharashtra's Bhima Koregaon.

Navlakha had challenged the Bombay High Court's February 8 order, which declined to grant him bail, holding that the alleged illegal detention period cannot be considered to compute maximum 90 days' time, which is mandatory to file charge sheet, or the accused could get statutory bail.

A bench comprising Justices U.U. Lalit and K.M. Joseph dismissed Navlakha's appeal. The top court on March 26 had reserved its verdict on Navlakha's plea. Pronouncing the verdict, Justice Joseph said it is dismissing the appeal filed by Navlakha against the High Court order.

On March 3, the top court had sought reply from the NIA on Navlakha's plea where he argued that the charge sheet was not filed within the stipulated time period and hence, he was entitled for default bail. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Navlakha, had contended before the top court that his client should be released on default bail, as the charge sheet was filed after 93 days of his custody. Sibal had also submitted before the top court that two days period of transit from Delhi to Mumbai should also be counted in 90 days period.

The top court had on March 16 last year declined anticipatory bail to Navlakha and asked him to surrender within three weeks before the NIA. On April 8, last year, the top court gave Navlakha one more week to surrender in the case. The FIR against him was re-registered in January 2020, and he surrendered before the NIA on April 14 last year. Navlakha had spent 11 days in the NIA's custody till April 25, and since then, he is in judicial custody.

The High Court on February 8 had dismissed Navlakha's plea saying, "it sees no reason to interfere with a special court's order", which earlier rejected his bail plea.

Navlakha had moved the high court last year, against the special NIA court's order of July 12, 2020, which rejected his plea for statutory bail.

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