The Bombay High Court on Friday declined to grant anticipatory bail to activists Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde, who are accused in the Elgar Parishad case.
Rejecting their pre-arrest bail applications, Justice P. D. Naik said that there is "prima facie evidence to show complicity of both accused in the case".
However, he allowed them four weeks' protection from arrest to enable them to file an appeal in the Supreme Court.
After going through the evidence including letters allegedly between the accused, the court said that Teltumbde, Navlakha and other co-accused like Surendra Gadling, Sudhar Bharadwaj and Rona Wilson had direct access to and links with the top leaders of the banned CPI-Maoist, while Teltumbde had received funds from them.
The development came on a day when a Pune sessions court transferred the Elgar Parishad - Koregaon-Bhima case to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has ordered all accused to be produced before the Special NIA Court in Mumbai on February 28.
The duo - Navlakha and Teltumbde - were among around a dozen activists nabbed by Pune Police in June-August 2018 in connection with the Elgar Parishad of Pune on December 31, 2017 followed by the caste violence that erupted in Koregaon-Bhima village on January 1, 2018.
The Pune police had said that "inflammatory and provocative statements and speeches" at the Elgar Parishad conference - supported by Maoist groups - were the trigger for the next day's caste violence in Koregaon-Bhima.
The two accused had approached the Pune sessions court for anticipatory bail, but after it was rejected, moved the Bombay High Court in November which granted them interim protection in December till the disposal of their pre-arrest bail applications.
All the accused activists were charged with carrying out anti-national activities, plans to create political disturbances, waging a war against India, conspiring to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and overthrowing the government.