Bhima Koregaon Riots: Bombay High Court grants bail to Mahesh Raut

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Today, the Bombay High Court granted bail to Mahesh Raut an accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon riots case but stayed the order of bail for one week at the request of NIA (National Investigation Agency). Mahesh Raut was arrested on 06 June 2018 on charges of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and has been behind bars since then. A two-judge bench of the Bombay HC granted him bail making him the sixth person to get bail in this case after Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves, Sudha Bharadwaj, Arun Ferreira, and Anand Teltumbde. Justice AS Gadkari and Justice Sharmila Deshmukh heard the matter today. 

During the court proceedings, the Senior Advocate representing Raut, Mihir Desai, argued that Mahesh Raut was not a member of the banned CPI (Maoist) outfit and said that he was an activist working for Adivasis in Gadchiroli. Further, Additional Solicitor General Devang Vyas and Advocate Sandesh Patil, representing NIA, argued that his bail was rightly rejected by the trial court as well as claimed that there was a larger conspiracy to wage war against the country. NIA also said, “The whole ideology of Naxalism revolves around the idea that it views a democratically elected government as the enemy and considers those of their own killed as martyrs. They mobilize and mislead the youth.” 

Further, ASG claimed that the scenarios were created by the party that “led to violence at Bhima Koregaon where a person was killed”. The bench clarified “There was no intention to kill the person. The person died in the riots.” After hearing the contentions of both parties, the bench granted bail to Mahesh Raut but stayed it on request of NIA for one week.