Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case: SC grants two-week interim bail to activist Mahesh Raut

The case pertains to the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on 31 December 2017, which according to the Pune Police was funded by Maoists.

ByPTI

Published Jun 21, 2024 | 4:12 PM Updated Jun 21, 2024 | 4:12 PM

SC grants interim bail to activist Mahesh Raut accused in Elgar Parishad case

The Supreme Court on Friday, 21 June granted interim bail for two weeks to activist Mahesh Raut, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, for attending the rituals following the death of his grandmother.

A vacation bench of justices Vikram Nath and SVN Bhatti directed that the interim bail will commence from 26 June and Raut shall surrender without fail on 10 July.

The bench passed the order on his application seeking interim bail to attend the rituals which are likely to be held on 29-30 June and 5-6 Juny.

“Considering the facts and circumstances of the case and the period of incarceration already undergone by the respondent and also the nature of request made for the purpose, we are inclined to grant two weeks interim bail to the applicant (Raut) which may commence from 26 June 2024 and end on 10 July, 2024,” the bench said.

It said the terms and conditions of the release shall be determined by the special court and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) would be at liberty to request the trial court to impose such stringent conditions as may be necessary.

“The applicant, on being released on 26 June, shall surrender without fail on 10 July, 2024, that is, on completion of two weeks,” it said.

The top court had, in September last year, extended the stay granted by the Bombay High Court on the implementation of its verdict granting bail to Raut. The NIA had earlier challenged in the top court the 21 September last year order of the HC granting bail to 33-year-old Raut, who was arrested in June 2018 and is presently lodged in judicial custody at the Taloja prison.

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After the HC had pronounced its verdict, the counsel representing the NIA had sought stay on the operation of its order to enable the probe agency to challenge it before the Supreme Court. During the hearing on Friday, 21 June, Raut’s counsel told the bench that he was earlier granted bail by the Bombay High Court and the NIA approached the apex court challenging that order.

The NIA’s counsel said Raut’s grandmother had passed away in May and he wanted interim bail now. “What is the necessity to rush to this court?” the NIA’s counsel said.

The bench said the NIA’s plea is pending before the apex court. “Bail granted by the HC has been stayed by this court on your (NIA) petition. Obviously, where will the respondent move for interim bail?” the bench said, adding, “because of the stay granted by this court, do you expect the special court to entertain the application filed by the applicant?”

The case pertains to the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on 31 December, 2017, which according to the Pune Police was funded by Maoists. The inflammatory speeches made there led to violence at the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial in Pune the next day, the police had alleged. The case was later probed by the NIA.

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