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Maoist terror-accused Lutyenite Gautam Navlakha now demands his ‘house arrest’ be moved to the beach town of Alibag! SC agrees to listen to his plea

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday opposed a plea by activist and accused Bhima Koregaon case Gautam Navlakha, under house arrest in Mumbai, seeking to be shifted to a house in Alibag area in Maharashtra.

Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, appearing for the NIA and the Maharashtra government, submitted before a bench headed by Justice K.M. Joseph that house in Alibag, where Navlakha wants to shift, is 110 km from the trial court and more than seven hours would be spent in taking him to the court and then taking back to his residence.

Navlakha’s counsel submitted that Alibag is in the same district as Taloja jail, where he was lodged while questioning the contention regarding distance.

Raju contended before the bench, also comprising Justice B.V. Nagarathna, that the house in Alibag area is located in a residential area where it is very difficult to cordon off, while vehemently opposing Navlakha’s plea. “It is not feasible keeping the security aspect in mind,” he said.

He also argued that ground taken by Navlakha for house arrest was a farce and added that he had requested the court to move him from a jail to house arrest on health grounds, citing absence of good health facilities. Raju submitted that the area, where he seeks to shift does not have any super speciality hospital.

Senior advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, representing Navlakha, vehemently opposed Raju’s submission. She contended that they can certainly discuss with the probe agency regarding the area where he can be put under house arrest.

After hearing submissions, the top court asked Raju to bring on record the agency’s objection and scheduled the matter for further hearing in August.

On November 10, last year, the top court had allowed Navlakha to be placed under house arrest after considering his deteriorating health and also asked him to provide local surety of Rs 2 lakh by November 14.

On April 28 this year, the top court had directed Navlakha to deposit another Rs 8 lakh for making available police personnel for his security.

On September 29 last year, the Supreme Court directed the Taloja jail Superintendent to immediately shift Navlakha to Mumbai’s Jaslok hospital for treatment.

Navlakha moved the apex court challenging Bombay High Court judgment passed in April, dismissing his plea to be transferred from Taloja Prison and placed under house arrest instead. In August 2018, he was arrested and initially placed under house arrest. In April 2020, after an apex court order he was moved to Taloja Central Prison in Maharashtra.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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