Bhima Koregaon case: Prof Anand Teltumbde granted bail on merits by Bom HC

Among the 16 accused, Teltumbde’s bail is the first bail that has been granted on merits. The same has been stayed for a week, upon NIA’s request to allow time to appeal before apex court.

 Prof Anand Teltumbde granted bail on merits by Bom HCImage: Manthan Foundation/YouTube

A Division Bench of Bombay High Court has granted bail to Dalit scholar and former IIT professor Anand Teltumbde who was booked under the stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act (UAPA) in the Bhima Koregaon case.

The bench comprising Justices AS Gadkari and Milind Jadhav had reserved the order last week after having extensively heard Teltumbde’s appeal against Special NIA Court’s order dated July 12, 2020 rejecting his bail. The 72-year-old scholar has been in custody since April 14, 2020 when he was arrested by the NIA.

His bail has been decided on merits whereby the court has held that offences under section 13 (unlawful activities), 16 (terrorist act) and 18 (conspiracy) of the UAPA are not made out against him and only sections 38 (offences related to membership of a terrorist organization) and 39 (Offence relating to support given to a terrorist organization) were made out. While the bail has been granted, the same has been stayed for a week upon NIA’s request to allow it to appeal before the apex court. The NIA is also before the apex court challenging Bombay High Court’s order granting Gautam Navlakha’s house arrest plea. Navlakha is another accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.

The case against Teltumbde is that he was the convenor of Elgar Parishad conference held on December 31, 2017 which led to clashes in Bhima Koregaon resulting in one person’s death. When the police probed further and the NIA took over the case, it was alleged that there was a conspiracy to assassinate the Prime Minister. The NIA also alleges that Teltumbde is an active member of CPI (Maoists) and also linked him to his late brother, Milind, who was the Secretary of the (Maharashtra-Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh) unit of the banned CPI(M). He was shot  at last year by security forces. Teltumbde asserted that he is critical of maoist ideology and that he had broken contact with his late brother for 25 years.

In his petition, Dr. Teltumbde denied the prosecution’s allegation that he was a convenor of the Elgar Parishad. The petition pointed out that he disagreed with the contents of the pamphlets and agendas of the Elgar Parishad, and wrote an article that clearly established the intellectual independence and disconnect of Dr. Teltumbde with Elgar Parishad or Bhima Koregaon, reported The Leaflet.

In September 2021, Teltumbde was refused bail on medical grounds by the NIA court and further in December 2021, his interim bail plea requesting leave to visit his 90-year-old mother after the death of his brother at the hands of security forces was also denied by NIA court. In March 2022, however, Bombay High Court granted him interim bail to visit his mother.

Sudha Bharadwaj, one of the 16 accused in this case, was granted default bail by Bombay High Court in December last year and activist, poet, Dr Varavara Rao was granted permanent bail on medical grounds in August this year by the Supreme Court. Last month, another accused, Jyoti Jagtap was denied bail by Bombay High Court. In August this year, the Supreme court directed the NIA to decide on the framing of charges in the case within three months hearing a bail petition filed by Vernon Gonsalves, another accused in the case. In September, Prof. Hany Babu’s regular bail plea was denied by the Bombay high Court.

Teltumbde’s bail is first such bail granted on merits in the Bhima Koregaon case. His release from prison will be subject to the appeal which will be filed before the apex court by NIA in the next few days; however, the Bombay High Court order granting him bail on merits will shed some new light on jurisprudence in bail under UAPA.


Gautam Navlakha’s house arrest: Stringent Conditions Apply

Elgar Case: 4 Days After SC Order, Navlakha Yet to be Placed Under House Arrest

Jyoti Jagtap denied bail: Elgar Parishad case, Bombay High Court

Draconian UAPA provisions, constitutionality challenged in the SC



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