Bhima Koregaon case | NIA opposes Sudha Bharadwaj plea

She is taking advantage of the pandemic situation, agency tells court

Updated - July 28, 2020 10:28 pm IST

Published - July 28, 2020 05:50 pm IST - Mumbai

 Sudha Bharadwaj. File

Sudha Bharadwaj. File

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday “strongly opposed” the criminal appeal filed after interim medical bail of trade unionist and human rights lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj was rejected by the NIA court.

Advocate Ragini Ahuja representing Ms. Bharadwaj lodged at Byculla jail appeared before a division bench of Justices R.D. Dhanuka and V.G. Bisht at the Bombay High Court. She said Ms. Bharadwaj was arrested on August 28, 2018 and has been in jail since almost two years on charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the Bhima Koregaon case.

She attached the medical certificate of the 58-year-old Ms Bharadwaj and the medical report submitted by the jail authorities to the petition. The jail medical report had revealed that Ms. Bharadwaj was suffering from diabetes and ischemic heart disease .

The NIA’s counsel Additional Solicitor General of Maharashtra and Goa, senior counsel Anil Singh said, “NIA strongly opposes the plea. She has been taken care in the jail and her bail has been previously rejected on merits because of her involvement in anti-terrorist and anti-national activities.”

He said, “For her ailments, she has been given the best treatment inside jail and if needed she will be shifted to a hospital.” He added, “Social distancing has been maintained inside jail and currently, anyone can get infected of COVID-19.”

The Bench directed the central agency to file a short reply to the petition and adjourned the matter to be heard on August 4.

In the same petition, NIA had previously filed an affidavit on July 1, that said, “Ms Bharadwaj under the garb of current situation on the account global pandemic COVID-19, is trying to take an undue benefit of the aforesaid situation in seeking bail on the grounds mentioned in her application. The available evidence on record clearly established Sudha Bharadwaj along with other accused was involved in selecting and encouraging cadres for recruitment in the banned Maoist organisation to go underground in ‘struggle area’”.

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