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Special NIA Court Paves Way For Sudha Bharadwaj's Release in Bhima Koregaon Case, Sets Bail Conditions

Sharmeen Hakim
8 Dec 2021 7:13 AM GMT
Special NIA Court Paves Way For Sudha Bharadwajs Release in Bhima Koregaon Case, Sets Bail Conditions
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She has been allowed provisional cash bail for a period of one month, disallowed from speaking to the media.

A special NIA Court on Wednesday decided the bail conditions to be imposed on Bhima Koregaon- Elgar Parishad accused Sudha Bharadwaj. She was granted default bail by the Bombay High Court, on December 1. The Supreme Court on Tuesday had dismissed National Investigation Agency's appeal against the HC's bail order. The Bombay High Court granted Bharadwaj default bail on a finding that...

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A special NIA Court on Wednesday decided the bail conditions to be imposed on Bhima Koregaon- Elgar Parishad accused Sudha Bharadwaj. She was granted default bail by the Bombay High Court, on December 1. 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday had dismissed National Investigation Agency's appeal against the HC's bail order.

The Bombay High Court granted Bharadwaj default bail on a finding that the Additional Sessions Court, Pune, which extended the time for investigation in the case beyond 90 days, was not competent to do as it was not notified as a Special Court under Section 22 of the NIA Act.

The High Court had directed her to be produced before the Trial Court on December 8 to complete the bail formalities.

Bharadwaj has been directed to reside in Mumbai, within the Special Court's jurisdiction, and disallowed from making any public statements.
The court rejected her plea to travel between Chattisgarh, Mumbai and Delhi. Advocate Yug Chaudhry for Bharadwaj said she was a practising advocate and needed to earn her livelihood.
She is directed to be released on executing a PR Bond of Rs 50,000 along with one or more sureties.
After special public prosecutor for NIA didn't object, the court allowed Bharadwaj to be temporarily released on cash bail.
The other bail conditions include:
  • Inform the NIA Court immediately about the place of residence within the said jurisdiction and contact numbers, as also those of her relatives residing with her.
  • Cannot leave Mumbai without permission of the court.
  • Must necessarily inform change of residential address.
  • The NIA shall conduct physical or virtual verification to confirm the residence.
  • Attend proceedings of trial, and shall see trial not protracted due to her absence.
  • Shall not make any statement regarding proceeding or the case in any media.

About the Case

Bharadwaj was arrested on August 28, 2018 in connection with the Bhima Koregaon/Elgar Parishad case by the Maharashtra Police, which was then investigating the Bhima Koregaon case. The case was initially investigated by the Pune police, however, the NIA took over the probe in January 2020.

The Pune police's charge sheet claims that some documents were recovered from her co-accused which mention her activities and prove that she is an 'active member' of the banned organisation CPI (Maoist).

One of the documents is that of a Special Women's Meeting held on January 2, 2018, of which Bharadwaj was allegedly a part, and five other documents include alleged meetings of Indian Association of Peoples' Lawyers, of which Bharadwaj is a Vice-President, documents claiming discussions about funds in the banned organisation, discussions of activities of CPI (Maoists) in Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, and a seminar in Delhi on Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The Bombay High Court rejected her bail application in October 2019, observing that these documents showed a prima-facie case against her.

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