New Delhi: The Bombay high court has granted temporary bail to activist Sudha Bharadwaj to attend her father’s funeral. The activist-lawyer has been under arrest for almost a year in the alleged Bhima Koregaon violence case, in which several other activists and lawyers have also been arrested.
Bharadwaj’s lawyers said that she will be allowed to travel to Bangalore on August 17, for her father’s 13th day funeral ritual. She will be allowed to stay at her house for two days, before being brought back to Pune. According to sources, the state will bear the expenses of the trip and she will be escorted by plainclothes police.
According to Bar & Bench, Bharadwaj’s father Prof Ranganathan died on August 6.
Prof. Ranganath, father of Sudha Bharadwaj died on August 6.
The #BombayHC permitted her visit, which includes two days of travelling and two-day stay at Bangalore home on humanitarian grounds.
— Bar & Bench (@barandbench) August 8, 2019
The Pune police last year arrested Bharadwaj and several other rights activists and lawyers, as part of the Bhima Koregaon case. The others arrested were Sudhir Dhawale, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Arun Ferreira, Varavara Rao and Vernon Gonsalves. The police have also sough to arrest Gautam Navlakha and Anand Teltumbde, but they have been handed a reprieve by the courts.
In a 7,500 page chargesheet filed in two phases, the prosecution has charged them with serious crimes like plotting to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi and conspiring to “cause mayhem in the country”. While the allegations are apparently based on letters and documents found on the laptops of those arrested, the ‘evidence’ was not attached in the chargesheets or during bail hearings.
Though the activists have filed for bail more than a year ago and 60-odd hearings were conducted on their applications, they have been unsuccessful. As The Wire has reported, the hearings were stalled indefinitely to allow the prosecution to hand over electronic evidence, such as the letters and documents, to the accused persons. Defence lawyers had told The Wire that this was another ploy by the prosecution to keep the accused behind bars.
According to her lawyers, the next bail hearing has now been scheduled for August 27. It was on August 28 last year that the Pune police had swooped to arrest Bharadwaj, Gonsalves, Varavara Rao and Ferriera.