Bhima Koregaon: Supreme Court allows respondents to file counter affidavits to bail plea of Jyoti Jagtap

The division Bench of the Supreme Court directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Maharashtra government to file counter affidavits within a period of three weeks.

ON Tuesday, the Supreme Court allowed the respondents to file counter affidavits within a period of three weeks in the bail plea of anti-caste activist and musical performer, Jyoti Jagtap.

Jagtap is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon–Elgar Parishad Maoist links and criminal conspiracy case along with 14 other activists and academics and has been charged under The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA). 

Jagtap has been incarcerated as an undertrial since September 8, 2020, and is lodged at the Byculla jail in Mumbai.

During the previous hearing on May 4, a division Bench, comprising Justices Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia, had issued notices to the two respondents, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Maharashtra government.

On Tuesday, a division Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sanjay Kumar heard the plea by Additional Solicitor General of India K.M. Nataraj, appearing on behalf of the first respondent, the NIA, and the counsel appearing for the Maharashtra government, requesting time to file a counter affidavit.

Advocate Aparna Bhat, appearing on behalf of Jagtap, submitted that Jagtap has been in custody for almost three years. She requested the Bench to set a fixed date for the next hearing of the bail application.

Referring to the two judgments reserved by the division Bench of Justices Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia, on the bail pleas of trade unionist, activist and academic Vernon Gonsalves, and activist and lawyer Arun Ferreira, for the grant of regular bail in the Bhima Koregaon case, the Bench noted that Jagtap’s bail plea will be taken up after the judgments are delivered in the coming week. 

The matter is posted for further hearing after four weeks.


On February 14, 2022, a special NIA court denied bail to Jagtap and three other co-accused in the Bhima Koregaon case. The court maintained that the accused had hatched a “serious conspiracy” to create unrest in the country.

On October 17, 2022, the Bombay High Court rejected her appeal which was filed against the Order of a special court under the NIA Act, dated February 14, 2022, under which her bail application was rejected.

According to the high court, Jagtap was involved in a “terrorist act” by organising the Elgar Parishad event and associating with prominent members of the banned organisation Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Trial is yet to begin in the Bhima Koregaon case. The prosecution has filed a chargesheet exceeding 5,000 pages and intends to cross-examine at least 200 witnesses. Several of the accused persons have now spent almost five years in judicial custody without trial.

Three of the accused persons, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao and Anand Teltumbde have managed to secure bail so far. Another co-accused, Father Stan Swamy, passed away due to Covid in custody in June 2021 after incarceration of over seven months.

An investigation by Arsenal Consulting, a leading, independent expert firm on digital forensics, has revealed that sophisticated malware was used to plant the digital evidence that forms the basis for the prosecution’s case on the devices of two of the accused persons in the case, Gadling and Wilson. 

Arsenal’s findings were published in four reports in 2021.