With the Supreme Court dismissing a review petition against its verdict on September 28, when it had refused to interfere in the arrest of five activists held in connection with the Koregaon-Bhima violence case, a team of Pune police personnel picked up civil rights lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj from her home in Faridabad’s Charmwood village on Saturday afternoon and brought her to Pune.
In Pune, she was produced before the District and Sessions Court, which sent her to police custody till November 6. Earlier, the court had remanded activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira in police custody.
Bharadwaj’s advocate Soutik Banerjee said, “She was arrested on August 28 itself, but since her house arrest got over at midnight (on October 26), the Pune Police has taken her into custody now… This is not a fresh arrest.”
Though a police team arrived at Bharadwaj’s home around midnight Friday, she was taken into custody only around noon on Saturday, after the Supreme Court order, dismissing a review petition against the court’s September 28 verdict, was uploaded.
Dismissing the review petition, a bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said on Friday, “We have perused the review petition as well as the grounds in support thereof. In our opinion, no case for review of judgment dated 28th September, 2018 is made out. The review petition is accordingly dismissed.” The order was, however, uploaded only on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, while seeking police remand of Ferreira and Gonsalves, prosecution lawyer Ujjwala Pawar told the Pune court that the two had been recruiting youth from educational institutions such as the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai and Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi for the CPI-Maoist and were deploying them in “interior” areas. Pawar said custodial interrogation of the suspects was required to know how they executed their recruitment operations. While seeking Bhardwaj’s custody, Pawar told the court that Bharadwaj too was an “active member” of the CPI-Maoist and the police needed to question her about her activities.
Bharadwaj, Gonsalves and Ferreira, along with Gautam Navalakha and P Varavara Rao, were arrested by the Pune Police on August 28 this year for their alleged links with the CPI-Maoist. The Supreme Court, however, put them under house arrest till October 26 and asked them to seek regular judicial remedy from appropriate courts. Bharadwaj, Ferreira and Gonsalves then moved the Pune court for bail, which was rejected on Friday. Navalakha and Rao have managed to get temporary relief from different courts. A Hyderabad court had on Wednesday given Rao protection from arrest for three weeks. The Bombay High Court on Friday ordered Pune Police not to arrest Navalakha till November 1.
Gonsalves and Ferreira were brought to Pune from their residences in Mumbai on Friday after their bail pleas were rejected by the court. Their four-week period of house arrest also ended on Friday.
Opposing the police custody, defence lawyer Rahul Deshmukh, who represented Gonsalves, argued in court that the police in their remand report had not mentioned that they need to recover any material from the accused.