Koregaon-Bhima Case: Happy with SC order on activists; probe to continue, says Pune CP

PTI
Friday, 28 September 2018

After multi-city raids, the Pune Police had arrested five rights activists -- Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha -- in August. 

Pune (Maha): Pune Police chief K Venkatesham Friday expressed happiness over the Supreme Court judgement on the arrest of five activists for alleged Maoist links and said they will continue to "professionally" investigate the case.
 
The apex court on Friday refused to interfere with their arrest and declined to appoint a special investigation team (SIT) to probe their arrest. 

After multi-city raids, the Pune Police had arrested five rights activists -- Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj and Gautam Navlakha -- in August. 

They were arrested on August 28 in connection with an FIR lodged following a conclave -- 'Elgaar Parishad' -- held on December 31 last year that, the police said, had later triggered violence at Koregaon-Bhima village near here. 

Venkatesham said they are happy with the apex court judgement. 

"I congratulate the investigation officer and his team for carrying out the professional investigation which was recognised by the Supreme Court today and we will continue to investigate the case in a professional way," said the police commissioner. 

He said after four weeks, the Pune Police will seek the custody of the accused (who will remain under house arrest for four more weeks) but in the meantime the investigation in the case will go on. 

Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Shivaji Bodkhe said the investigation carried out in the case so far was within the framework of law and conducted in a professional manner. 

"I am happy that today the court recognised the investigation and evidences collected by the investigating officer," Bodkhe said. 

The Pune Police have been maintaining that right from searching the premises of the five activists and collecting the evidence, everything was videographed. 

The SC verdict said arrests were not because of dissent of activists but there was prima facie material to show their link with banned CPI (Maoist) organisation. 

It disagreed with the PIL by historian Romila Thapar and others seeking the immediate release of the activists.

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