Bhima-Koregaon case: Activists’ arrest not based on political dissent, says Supreme Court, rules out SIT probe

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In a shot in the arm for the Maharashtra Police and the state government, the Supreme Court today refused to interfere in the arrest of the five activists who were taken into custody by the Pune Police in connection with the Bhima-Koregaon violence case. A three-judge bench of the top court, by a majority view of 2-1, categorically held that the arrest of the activists was not based on political dissent and that there was no miscarriage of justice in the actions of the police. Arrests were not because of dissent of activists, there is prima facie material to show their link with banned CPI (Maoist), CJI Dipak Misra said. The court further said that the accused persons do not have a say in which investigation agency should probe the case and refused to constitute an SIT while allowing the Pune Police to continue its probe into the case. The court said that the arrest of the activists was not based on political dissent. In its interim order passed today, the court extended the house arrest of all the five activists The court ruling, however, came in the form of a split verdict with Justice DY Chandrachud dissenting from the view held by the CJI and Justice Khanwilkar. Justice Chandrachud said that an inquiry is required into the conduct of the Maharashtra Police officers for Reprimanding the police for holding a press conference soon after the top courts order, Justice Chandrachud said that the police briefing to media has become a He also termed the arrest of five activists unfortunate and termed it a trial by the media. Acts of Maharashtra police raises question whether Maharashtra police can be trusted to carry out the investigation, he said.