NIA Opposes Sudha Bharadwaj's Bail, Says She Is Taking 'Undue Benefit of Pandemic'

The lawyer is in Byculla prison in Mumbai, and suffers from diabetes and hypertension.

New Delhi: A month after it was reported that lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj was not being allowed to make telephone calls from the Byculla prison, the National Investigation Agency on Wednesday opposed Bharadwaj’s plea for interim bail.

Bharadwaj is in custody for her alleged involvement in the Bhima Koregaon case, investigation into which has been highly controversial.

There have been repeated pleas for her release or bail, especially citing court orders and committee recommendations to decongest jails in the time of a health crisis.

Bar and Bench has reported that a Special Court in Mumbai had earlier rejected Bharadwaj’s plea for interim bail. Bharadwaj has approached the Bombay high court with the same plea, which the NIA has opposed saying that the aged trade unionist who suffers from diabetes and hypertension has been “taking undue benefit of the pandemic”.

Also read: Over 600 Citizens Call for Temporary Release of Sudha Bharadwaj, Shoma Sen From Byculla Jail

The reply of the NIA, quoted by Bar and Bench, also says that on being checked by medical practitioners, Bharadwaj was found to be in “stable condition and is also being provided appropriate medical assistance in the prison where she is lodged.”

The NIA also said that the considering the “gravity of the offence” Bharadwaj is being prosecuted for, she is not entitled to bail, the legal website reported.

The Wire had earlier reported how Bharadwaj’s daughter had been worried over her health, especially as she has been housed in a jail where at least one inmate was found to have been coronavirus positive. “Maaysha says the past two and a half months of the lockdown were spent in making desperate calls to the Byculla jail authorities and in finding ways to talk to her mother. Each of these calls were met with rude responses or a plain refusal to allow her to connect with Bharadwaj,” the report read.