The Supreme Court today granted interim bail to Mahesh Raut, a key accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, allowing him to attend the ceremonies related to the last rites of his grandmother. The bench, comprising Justices Vikram Nath and SVN Bhatti, heard the matter and ruled in favour of Raut’s request for a temporary release.

Background of the case

Mahesh Raut, a land and forest rights activist, has been extensively involved with Gram Sabhas in the mining regions of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra. His activism centres on empowering local communities and protecting their rights against encroachments by mining corporations.

On June 6, 2018, Mahesh Raut, along with five other individuals, was arrested by the Pune police. The charges against them included spreading Maoist ideology, funding banned organizations, and recruiting individuals for the Maoists. These arrests were part of a broader investigation into the Bhima Koregaon violence that occurred in January 2018, which led to clashes between Dalit and Maratha communities.

The Pune police alleged that inflammatory speeches at the Elgar Parishad event held on December 31, 2017, in Pune, triggered the violence. The event was organized to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, a significant event for the Dalit community. According to the authorities, Raut and others were implicated based on letters and emails retrieved from their electronic devices, allegedly linking them to Maoist activities.

Mahesh Raut, along with other accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, faces several serious charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) 1967 and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

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