A special court handling the Bhima-Koregaon case on Wednesday said that it would not be proper to keep accused Gautam Navlakha on house arrest in particular premises in Belapur on account of strong objections raised by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) over his safety in it. In a separate development, actor Suhasini Mulay stood surety for him as part of the house arrest formalities.
Mulay appeared before the court and told it that she knows Navlakha for the past 30 years since he is a resident of Delhi, where she had lived too. As part of the apex court’s order granting Navlakha’s plea for house arrest, he is required to furnish a surety and pay expenses of police deployment at the site of Rs. 2,40,000 among other conditions.
The NIA on Wednesday submitted a report on the evaluation of the house arrest premises before the special court where it said the premises in Belapur where Navalkha proposes to be kept under house arrest, is “porous” in nature as there is a public library on the ground floor which is open to all. Navlakha would be staying on the first floor.
The report mentioned that not sufficient CCTV cameras have been installed as per the SC’s order. The agency also pointed out that the building is in the name of the secretary of the Communist Party of India in Maharashtra who resides in Kolhapur. The NIA’s special public prosecutor Prakash Shetty argued before the court regarding the premises that “All comrades are in charge”. Navlakha’s lawyer Yug Chaudhary told the court that the CPI is a political party that contests elections and has governments in at least two states. He said further that Navlakha will be residing only on the first floor and cannot help it if there is a library below.
The court said in its order that it would not be proper to keep the accused under house arrest on the premises since there is a strong objection by the prosecution in view of his safety and security. The NIA had submitted that it would be presenting the evaluation report of the premises before the apex court. The special court considered this and said that it would not be appropriate to shift him to the premises at this stage until further directions from the SC.