Thursday, September 28, 2023

Bombay High Court directs accused Shoma Sen to first move special NIA court for bail in Bhima Koregaon case

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The Bombay High Court has directed the Bhima Koregaon accused Shoma Sen for approaching the special NIA court for bail before coming to the High Court in appeal.

A division bench comprising of Justice AS Gadkari and Justice PD Naik have said that noted that the special NIA court could not consider the bail application after the filing of chargesheet.

The bench, has therefore directed Sen for approach the special court to be considered for a supplementary chargesheet.

The court has mentioned that in the event, the special court rejects the bail plea, then the High Court can take benefit of the observations of the lower court on the chargesheet, the bench concluded.

The bail application was disposed of with directions to Sen to approach the special court.

Talking about Sen, she was an English literature professor along with being a women’s rights activist, and was arrested on June 6, 2018.

She had applied for bail before the Pune Sessions Court in December 2018 before the chargesheets were filed.

Both the applications were rejected by the sessions court by way of common order of November 2019.

The investigation in the case was transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the trial was transferred to the special NIA court.

In 2020, Sen approached the High Court for bail.

The application was first listed before a single-judge of the High Court. The single-judge then transferred the matter to the division bench since NIA appeals have to be heard by a division bench.

Sen then made an application seeking to convert the bail application into an appeal.

Sen says that she was implicated and was falsely arrested because she had exposed illegal arrests and tortures.

She says that there was deliberate and conscious omission on the part of the investigating agency to maintain the integrity of the electronic evidence allegedly seized from Sen.

Sen in her plea has said that merely because the name ‘Shoma Sen’ is mentioned in any of these so called electronic letters cannot be a reasonable ground to deny Bail to the Applicant.

She added that the communications allegedly found from hard disks of the co-accused mentions name of a lawful and registered organization such as ‘Anuradha Gandhy Memorial Committee’ cannot be sufficient ground to brand such an organization as a front organization of the proscribed CPI (Maoist).

The plea added that such branding of a lawful and legal organization / Society in such an arbitrary manner amounts to unreasonable, unfair and unjust acts of the investigating agency.

The High Court, however, directed Sen to first approach the lower court and disposed of the plea.

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