Anti-Terror Agency Opposes Activist Sudha Bharadwaj's Bail

Sudha Bharadwaj is the first among 16 activists and academicians arrested in the case to have been granted default bail.

Sudha Bharadwaj is the first among 16 activists and academicians arrested in the case.

New Delhi:

Lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj's bail in the Koregaon-Bhima case has been challenged in the Supreme Court by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

In jail since 2018, Sudha Bharadwaj was granted default bail on Wednesday by the Bombay High Court, which said that a court that extended the investigation against her and prolonged her detention did not have the jurisdiction to do so.

The bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar, which passed the order, however, directed a Mumbai special NIA court to take up the case on December 8 and decide on the conditions of her bail and date of release.

The Koregaon-Bhima case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at an Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on Pune's outskirts.

The Pune police had claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists. The probe in the case was later transferred to the NIA.

Sudha Bharadwaj is the first among 16 activists and academicians arrested in the case to have been granted default bail. Poet-activist Varavara Rao is currently out on medical bail. Jesuit priest Stan Swamy died in a private hospital in the city on July 5 this year, while waiting for medical bail.

The others are all in custody as undertrials.

Associated with the trade union movement in Chhattisgarh for more than 25 years, Sudha Bharadwaj is the general secretary of the Chhattisgarh unit of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and a member of Women against Sexual Violence and State Repression (WSS).

An alumna of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, and a Professor of National Law University, Delhi, the activist gave up her United States citizenship and decided to pursue law and practise in Bilaspur for tribals in Chhattisgarh.

Sudha Bharadwaj was arrested in the case on August 28, 2018. She was then placed under house arrest and was taken into custody on October 27, 2018.

She has been in custody since then, except for two days in August 2019 when she was granted bail to attend her father's last rites.

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the city's outskirts.

The Pune police had claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists. The probe in the case was later transferred to the NIA.

With inputs from PTI

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