Eight years after arrest, Bombay High Court acquits former DU professor G.N. Saibaba in UAPA case

Supreme Court Bench to hold special sitting on October 15 to hear the NIA’s appeal against the acquittal.

October 14, 2022 11:21 am | Updated October 19, 2022 02:23 pm IST - Nagpur:

File photo of G.N. Saibaba

File photo of G.N. Saibaba

A 90% physically disabled, wheelchair bound convict, Prof. G.N. Saibaba has been acquitted by the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court on October 14, 2022.

A division Bench of justices Rohit Deo and Anil Pansare acquitted accused Mahesh Tirki, Pandu Pora Narote, Hem Keshwdatta Mishra, Prashant Rahi, Vijay Nan Tirki and G.N. Saibaba. Pandu Narote, 33, also lodged at Nagpur Central Jail died on August 26 due to swine flu. 

The judgment holds the sessions court order of conviction null and void and set it aside in the absence of valid sanction under the UAPA.

"Empirical evidence suggests that departure from the due process of law fosters an ecosystem in which terrorism burgeons and provides fodder to vested interests whose singular agenda is to propagate false narrative," the judgment says.

On March 7, 2017, the Sessions Court at Gadchiroli sentenced Professor Saibaba to life imprisonment for his alleged links with the banned organisation Communist Party of India (Maoist) under the UAPA. His appeal against the judgment was pending before the High Court for the last five years.

NIA moves Supreme Court

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) immediately moved the Supreme Court seeking a stay on the acquittal; however, it was declined. The apex court has however allowed the Central agency to move an application before the registry requesting for urgent listing.

A special sitting of a Bench of Justices M.R. Shah and Bela Trivedi is scheduled to hear Maharashtra’s appeal against the acquittal on October 15

Prof. Saibaba's left hand is on the verge of failure and there is acute pain spreading in both hands. He suffers from pancreatitis, high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, chronic back pain, immobility and sleeplessness.

Gokalkonda Naga Saibaba, 52, was arrested on February 16, 2014. The sanctioning authority, K.P. Bakshi, accorded sanction to prosecute on April 6, 2015. The sessions court framed charges against all the six accused on February 21, 2015.

Prof. Saibaba got polio at the age of five but was still able to get the district first position in the tenth grade. Till 2008, he did not have a wheelchair and used to move by covering his palms with chappals and crawl. He completed his Masters in Arts from Hyderabad and joined the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages to pursue postgraduate diploma in teaching English in 1991. He was arrested on May 9, 2014 when he was working as Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Ram Lal Anand College, affiliated to Delhi University and was terminated from service in 2021.

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