Bhima Koregaon: Bombay HC grants interim bail to Anand Teltumbde for meeting his mother

ON Wednesday, the Bombay High Court allowed Anand Teltumbde, accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, to visit his nonagenarian mother in Chandrapur, Maharashtra, following the death of his brother Milind Teltumbde. The 70-year old Anand – a scholar, writer and activist – was permitted to go along with a police escort and appropriate bandobast, from March 8 to 10.  
Teltumbde’s brother Milind, a senior Maoist leader, was killed in an encounter in Gadchiroli in November last year. After the National Investigation Agency [NIA]’s special court denied him interim bail to go and meet his grieving 92-year old mother, his lawyers approached the High Court.
The division bench of Justices S.B. Shukre and G.A. Sanap allowed him interim bail, and noted in their order that the applicant is allowed to meet his mother in Chandrapur on March 8 and 9″, adding that “if some time is available before leaving, the applicant shall be permitted to meet his mother on March 10 if possible.” The court directed that Teltumbde be brought back to Taloja jail, where he is presently lodged, by March 11. 
Further, the order stipulated that expenses of travel and stay at Chandrapur would be borne by the applicant, while the expenses of a police escort and other such necessary expenses shall be borne by the Maharashtra government. 
During the hearing, the NIA’s counsel, advocate Sandesh Patil, asked the bench to briefly let Teltumbde, along with an escort, to visit his mother and return to the jail, but reiterated that the court should not allow the interim bail request for a few days. Patil submitted before the court that Milind was a wanted accused who died in an ambush.  
Additional Public Prosecutor APP Sangeeta Shinde informed the court that when calculating escort charges, they looked at the “seriousness of the offence”. To this, the bench asked the prosecution whether the charges against co-accused Sudha Bharadwaj were not as serious, and reminded them that in August 2019, Bharadwaj was allowed to visit her home for two days to attend her father’s final rites. During this time, it was the government authorities who bore the escort charges.
Emphasizing that “death is a death” even if the person who died was an accused involved in illegal activities, Justice Shukre also remarked that “he might be considered a Naxalite or a Maoist or whatever, but ultimately he is the (applicant’s) brother.” To the prosecution, he asked: “According to you, he need not meet his mother?”
Teltumbde’s counsels, senior advocate Mihir Desai and advocate Devyani Kulkarni, have also filed applications seeking regular bail, and a challenge to the bail provisions under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act UAPA and the NIA’s misuse of the term “front organisation”. The court will hear Teltumbde’s application for regular bail on March 16. 
Meanwhile, the bench has issued notice to the Attorney General for India, K.K.Venugopal, asking him to assist it on Desai’s claim that the only way an organisation can be banned is after the Centre notified it under the UAPA’s schedule.  

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