Bhima Koregaon case: SC junks NIA’s plea challenging bail to Sudha Bharadwaj

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Bhima Koregaon case: SC junks NIA’s plea challenging bail to Sudha Bharadwaj
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against bail to activist Sudha Bharadwaj in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case.

A bench headed by Justice U.U. Lalit after hearing detailed arguments by Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, representing the NIA, dismissed the appeal by the premiere investigating agency.

The bench, also comprising Justices Ravindra Bhat and Bela Trivedi said there was no reason to interfere with the Bombay High Court order.

The NIA on Monday urged the Supreme Court to urgently list its petition challenging the Bombay High Court, which granted default bail to activist Sudha Bharadwaj in the Bhima Koregaon case.

On December 1, the Bombay High Court granted bail to Bharadwaj in the Bhima Koregaon caste violence case. However, it refused to entertain bail pleas of the other eight accused — Rona Wilson, Varavara Rao, Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira.

All the accused are lodged at the Taloja Central Jail.

A division bench comprising Justices S.S. Shinde and N.J. Jamadar directed that Bharadwaj should be produced before the Special NIA Court on Wednesday which will impose the bail conditions and finalise her release.

It had noted that a special court designated under the NIA Act already existed in Pune, as a result, the sessions judge had no jurisdiction to extend the detention beyond the stipulated 90 days.

Bharadwaj is the first among the 16 activists arrested in the case to be granted default bail. Earlier, another accused P. Varavara Rao was granted bail on medical grounds, while accused Fr. Stan Lourduswamy passed away in custody in July after a prolonged illness.

Hailing from Chhattisgarh, Bharadwaj, 60, has been in jail since August 2018 after her arrest from New Delhi by the Pune Police which was probing the twin case.


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