A day after the Supreme Court dismissed the National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) plea challenging his bail, Elgaar Parishad accused Anand Teltumbde was Saturday released from Taloja Central Prison in Navi Mumbai. 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.”
Of the sixteen accused who were arrested in the Elgar Parishad case — nine individuals were arrested by the Pune Police in 2018, and seven were arrested by the NIA after it took over the investigation in 2020. Teltumbde was arrested by the NIA on April 14, 2020 after he surrendered before the agency.
He 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.
One of the accused, Father Stan Swamy, an 84-year-old Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist, passed away in July 2021 while in judicial custody.