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Supreme Court Dismisses NIA’S Plea, Relief For Sudha Bharadwaj

New Delhi, India: The Supreme Court said today that there is no reason to interfere with a Bombay High Court order granting bail to lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj in the Koregaon-Bhima case, dismissing a petition filed by the National Investigation Agency.

Sudha Bharadwaj, who has been in prison since 2018, was granted default bail this month by the Bombay High Court, which ruled that a court that extended the investigation against her and prolonged her detention lacked jurisdiction.

The order, issued by Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar, did, however, direct a Mumbai special NIA court to hear the case on December 8 and decide on her bail conditions and release date.

The NIA’s attorney, Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, filed an appeal with the Supreme Court today, arguing that the High Court failed to consider certain sections of the UAPA (Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967) when granting default bail.

His arguments, however, did not persuade the jury.

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“We see no reason to overturn the high court’s decision. The case was dismissed “Justices UU Lalit, SR Bhat, and Bela M Trivedi ruled in her favor, allowing her to be released from custody.

The Koregaon-Bhima case stems from allegedly inflammatory speeches delivered at an Elgar Parishad conclave in Pune on December 31, 2017, which allegedly sparked violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on Pune’s outskirts, according to the police.

The conclave was allegedly backed by Maoists, according to the Pune police. The investigation into the case was later handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Sudha Bharadwaj is the first of 16 activists and academics who have been arrested in the case to be granted default bail. Varavara Rao, a poet and activist, is currently on medical bail. Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest, died on July 5 this year in a private hospital in the city while awaiting medical bail.

All of the others are being held as undertrials.

On August 28, 2018, Sudha Bharadwaj was arrested in connection with the case. On October 27, 2018, she was placed under house arrest and taken into custody.
She has been held in custody since then, with the exception of two days in August 2019 when she was released on bail to attend her father’s funeral.

The case stems from allegedly inflammatory speeches given at the Elgar Parishad conclave in Pune on December 31, 2017, which allegedly sparked violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on the city’s outskirts, according to the police.

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