“Unfortunate how the case was put on us”: Anand Teltumbde

Anand Teltumbde was arrested by the NIA on April 14, 2020. He is the third of the 16 accused arrested in the case to be released on bail.

Anand teltumbde

Anand Teltumbde walks out of Taloja Central Prison in Navi Mumbai a day after the Supreme Court dismissed the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) plea challenging his bail.

Speaking to reporters outside the jail, the scholar-activist said, “I am happy to be released after 31 months, but it is so unfortunate the way the case was put on us.”

Teltumbde was granted bail by the Bombay High Court last Friday (November 18). The central agency challenged the order in the apex court, which dismissed its plea Friday, saying it “will not interfere”.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud dismissed the NIA’s appeal with a two-line order: “The SLP is dismissed. However, the observations in the impugned judgment of the High Court shall not be treated as conclusive final findings in all proceedings.”

Teltumbde was arrested by the NIA on April 14, 2020 after he surrendered before the agency.

The case against Teltumbde by the NIA was that he was one of the convenors of the December Elgar Parishad event, where he also had made provocative speeches leading to riots on January 1, 2018.

During the bail hearing, Senior Advocate Mihir Desai appearing for Teltumbde pointed out that as per the chargesheets against Teltumbde no terror acts could be attributed to him and hence there was no bar to release him on bail under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

Desai also pointed out that being an academician, Teltumbde was often invited for various conferences, national and international, and attending the same was not a crime.

Teltumbde is the third of the 16 accused arrested in the case to be released on bail. Telugu poet and activist Varavara Rao was granted bail on medical grounds by the Supreme Court in August this year. Lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj was granted default bail in December last year.

On November 19, activist Gautam Navlakha was moved from Taloja Central Prison to house arrest in Navi Mumbai after the Supreme Court rejected the NIA’s appeal against the court’s earlier order allowing his house arrest.

The other accused, including activists Vernon Gonsalves, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, and Prof Shoma Sen, remain in jail.

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