Activist Gautam Navlakha. (File)
Seeking anticipatory bail for activist Gautam Navlakha, accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, lawyer Yug Chaudhry told the Bombay High Court Friday that his client’s views are “completely opposite to those held by the CPI(Maoist)”.
Referring to a report on Navlakha, cited by Pune police and compiled by the CPI(M) to counter allegations of Pune Police that the activist holds a senior position in the party and is engaged in waging war against the country, Chaudhry said, “Maoists have said he is hurting their public image by calling them a criminal organisation and that he should be kept at arm’s length.”
Referring to the report — which is part of the police’s chargesheet against Navlakha — Chaudhry said it reads like a defence document. “This document knocks out their (police’s) case. One of the allegations that the Maoists make against Navlakha is that he is an agent of the government masquerading as a left-wing sympathiser. He is undermining the movement and causing deaths of important leaders,” he said, reading out from the report.
Chaudhary argued that in his writing, Navlakha has always “taken a line against violence and that Maoists accuse him of being a peace activist”. “Maoists say that he (Navlakha) attacks their use of excessive violence and the autonomy they have given to weapon-wielding squads to kill at will. Far from somebody associated with violence, he is accused of criticising violence and the Maoists,” Chaudhry told the court.
Chaudhry also claimed that the letters retrieved by police from fellow accused Rona Wilson’s laptop, which allegedly point to Navlakha’s involvement in the conspiracy to overthrow the central government by an armed revolution, “are typed undated and unsigned and that it isn’t clear who has written them and to whom they were sent”.
Chaudhry told the court Navlakha has studied the document — ‘Strategy and Tactics of the Indian Revolution’ — in the course of his study of Maoism and that it has been referred to by several defence experts.
Citing the Supreme Court’s order granting bail to former Union finance minister P Chidambaram Wednesday, Chaudhry urged the court to reflect on the police’s decision to submit certain materials seized from Navlakha’s home in a sealed cover last week. He urged the court not to allow submissions in sealed covers to become the norm.
Justice Prakash Naik will Monday hear arguments on the anticipatory bail appeal filed by another accused in the case, activist and professor Anand Teltumbde.