Saturday, September 30, 2023

Bhima Koregaon case: Bombay High Court grants default bail to Sudha Bhardwaj, refuses bail to 8 others

Eight other accused persons in the case – Sudhir Dhawale, Varavara Rao, Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira – had also filed bail pleas in the high court on similar grounds.

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The Bombay High Court on Wednesday granted default bail to lawyer-activist Sudha Bhardwaj in the Bhima Koregaon case.

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar had reserved Bharadwaj’s bail plea for judgement on August 4 and the criminal application by 8 others on September 1.

However, the Court rejected the bail applications of 8 other accused Sudhir Dawale, Dr P Varavara Rao, Rona Wilson, Advocate Surendra Gadling, Professor Shoma sen, Mahesh Raut, Vernon Gonsalves and Aruna Ferreira.

The court has rejected the bail of the other 8 accused saying that they had not filed a default bail plea at the correct time.

The court has directed Sudha Bhardwaj to appear for NIA court before December 8 to decide on bail conditions.

Bharadwaj, who was arrested on August 28, 2018, and has been in custody for over 3 years, had filed a plea in the Bombay High Court for the default bail but, however, the judge was not designated to hear cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

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The petitioners contended that the Pune sessions court was not authorised to take cognisance of the case against them in 2018-19. It was argued that only NIA Act could deal with cases involving UAPA offences, as these are ‘scheduled offences’ under the NIA Act.

Pune sessions court judge KD Vadane had passed several orders in the case granting an extension to file a charge sheet in 2018 and taking cognisance of the supplementary charge sheet filed by the Pune Police against Bharadwaj (among others) in 2019.

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