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Elgar Parishad case: SC reserves verdict on Shoma Kanti Sen’s bail plea

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has reserved its verdict on a plea filed by Shoma Kanti Sen, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case who has challenged a Bombay High Court order that has directed her to approach a special NIA court for bail.

A bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Augustine George Masih reserved its verdict in the matter on Friday after hearing the arguments of both sides.

“Heard the counsel for the parties. Arguments concluded. Judgment reserved,” the bench said.

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Sen, an English literature professor and women’s rights activist, was arrested in connection with the case on June 6, 2018.

The apex court was hearing her plea challenging the January 17 last year order of the high court.

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the city’s outskirts.

The Pune Police had claimed that the conclave was backed by Maoists.

The high court had dealt with Sen’s plea challenging a November 2019 order passed by the additional sessions judge, Pune that rejected her bail application. Sen had claimed before the high court that she was falsely implicated in the case.

“As noted in an order dated December 2, 2022, the investigation of the present crime was subsequently transferred to the National Investigation Agency in the month of January 2020 i.e. after the passing of the impugned order,” the high court had noted in its January 17 last year order.

“It is to be noted here that after the NIA filed the supplementary chargesheet in view of a substantive change in the circumstances, the applicant (Sen) did not approach the trial court at the first instance for appreciation of evidence by it,” it had said.

The high court had said the petitioner needed to approach the trial court afresh for bail so that the trial court could get an opportunity to assess the entire material available on record against her.

It had disposed of the bail plea and granted Sen the liberty to approach the trial court for the relief.

The probe in the case, in which more than a dozen activists and academicians have been named as accused, was transferred to the NIA.

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