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SC refuses to entertain bail plea by activist Sudha Bharadwaj in Elgar case

The Supreme Court Thursday refused to entertain a plea seeking bail to lawyer and activist Sudha Bharadwaj, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 24-09-2020 13:57 IST | Created: 24-09-2020 13:48 IST
SC refuses to entertain bail plea by activist Sudha Bharadwaj in Elgar case
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

The Supreme Court Thursday refused to entertain a plea seeking bail to a lawyer and activist Sudha Bharadwaj, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Koregaon Bhima case being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). A bench comprising Justices U U Lalit and Ajay Rastogi dismissed as withdrawn the plea filed by Bharadwaj.

Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the activist has been in jail for over two years and charges have not been not framed in the case. Nothing has been recovered from the petitioner and no incriminating material found, she said.

Referring to her health condition, the lawyer said Bharadwaj is suffering from diabetes and other comorbidities. "They are giving me medicine but several tests are required. Grant me interim bail. I will get diagnosed myself and thereafter surrender myself," she said.

The apex court noted that a bail plea is pending in the high court. Grover said that she sought the court's indulgence to get checked and the tests cannot happen in the jail hospital.

"You have a good case on merits. Why don't you file a regular bail application," the bench said. The court then said, "either you withdraw it or we will dismiss it," and suggested that a regular bail plea can be filed. The plea was then withdrawn.

Bharadwaj, 58, had earlier approached the Bombay High Court seeking bail, saying that she suffered from chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. She had said comorbidities put her at a higher risk of contracting coronavirus while at the Byculla women''s prison where an inmate had tested positive for COVID-19 earlier.

The court, however, had noted the submissions made by the NIA and the Maharashtra government that the prison authorities were taking all precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and that they were providing necessary medical care to Bharadwaj for her comorbidities. On August 21, pursuant to an high court order, the state government had submitted a report stating that Bharadwaj had been examined in the prison by a medical officer and that her health condition was found to be "stable and satisfactory".

The report stated that Bharadwaj's vital health parameters were stable although she had been suffering from mild depression and had complained of body ache. The state said that Bharadwaj had been given medication for dizziness and had been advised to continue medicines for her chronic conditions.

Bharadwaj has been lodged in the Byculla women's prison since September 2018 following her arrest in the case. The case pertains to the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune district on December 31, 2017. It is alleged that speeches made by some activists at the conclave led to violence near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on outskirts of Pune city the next day.


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