NIA moves Supreme Court against bail to activist Sudha Bharadwaj in Bhima-Koregaon case

While the High Court granted bail to her, it rejected the pleas of eight other co-accused – Sudhir Dhawale, Varavara Rao, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira.

Bharadwaj is the first among 16 activists and academicians arrested in the case to have been granted default bail.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has objected to bail granted to lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj by Bombay High Court in the Bhima-Koregaon case. The NIA has approached the Supreme Court against the HC order. Bharadwaj was in jail for the last three years in connection with the alleged Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case. She was granted default bail by the High Court on December 1.

While the High Court granted bail to her, it rejected the pleas of eight other co-accused – Sudhir Dhawale, Varavara Rao, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira. The HC, however, directed the police to produce her before the Mumbai special NIA court on December 8 and added that the conditions of her bail and date of release will be decided by the special NIA court.

Bharadwaj is the first among 16 activists and academicians arrested in the case to have been granted default bail. Rao is currently out on medical bail. One of the accused Jesuit priest Stan Swamy died in a private hospital on July 5 this year. The others are all in custody as undertrials.

The National Investigation Agency, which is probing the case, had opposed both the pleas and argued that the NIA Act did not prohibit state police from carrying on a probe until such time that the NIA takes over.

Bharadwaj was arrested in the case by the Pune police on August 28, 2018. She was then placed under house arrest and was taken into custody on October 27, 2018. She has been in custody since then. She was granted bail for two days in August 2019 for attending her father’s last rites.

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 the conclave was backed by Maoists. The probe in the case was later transferred to the NIA.

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