CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Tuesday granted conditional bail to Laxman Choudhury, a rural journalist of Gajapati district who was arrested on September 20 for his alleged link with banned Maoist outfit.

Single judge bench of Justice C.R. Dash granted bail to Choudhury with two sureties of Rs. 10,000 each. He was also asked to cooperate with the investigating police officer and register his presence in local police station every week.

The Mohana-based journalist, working for a vernacular daily, was picked up by the local police along with a passenger bus conductor as the latter was carrying a packet with him on whom the address of Choudhury was written. Literatures eulogising Maoist activities were inside the packet.

Soon after the arrest of Choudhury, journalists of the State had protested against the police action saying it was an attempt to gag the Press. “The Maoists usually send literature, posters, leaflets and journals to journalists for highlighting their activities. For this a journalist should not be held responsible or prosecuted,” the newsmen contended.

Even the State Chief Minister was petitioned by a group of Bhubaneswar-based journalists urging him to intervene into the matter.