HomeWorldSudha Bharadwaj to walk out of Byculla jail today

Sudha Bharadwaj to walk out of Byculla jail today

MUMBAI: Arrested over three years ago in the Elgar Parishad case, lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj (59) is likely to walk out from Byculla jail on Thursday morning. Bharadwaj was produced before the special NIA court on Wednesday, a day after the Supreme Court upheld the Bombay high court’s order granting default bail to her last week.
Imposing about 16 conditions, the special NIA judge said that she must furnish cash security of Rs 50,000. “She shall reside within the jurisdiction of this court. She shall not leave the jurisdiction of this court at Mumbai on being released on bail, without permission of this court,” special judge DE Kothalikar said.
The court also said that Bharadwaj has to attend trial regularly and it should not be delayed due to her. Dressed in a green kurta, her face covered with a blue cloth mask, Bharadwaj was brought before the court at around 11.35 am. She smiled as she met her lawyer in court. Her daughter too was present. As the procedures at the sessions court were completed only before 6 pm, the jail could not process her release before its deadline. Last week, the HC had directed she be produced before the special NIA court so that it can set her bail amount and conditions.
The special NIA court also said that Sudha Bharadwaj is to submit a list of at least three blood relatives with their detailed residential and work addresses and documentary proof of showing the correctness of the details produced by her. At this point, Bharadwaj told the court,“I only have a daughter.”
The court also said that she is not to make any statement regarding the proceedings pending before the court, in any form of media. Bharadwaj’s advocate Yug Chaudhary, however, opposed this and said that her fundamental rights should not be stifled. “She should be allowed to write articles,” he submitted. Earlier, he also sought for a low bail amount to be set. Chaudhary also told the court that she’s a practising lawyer in Chhattisgarh and has to work for a living. He urged the court to allow her to travel between Maharashtra and other states, including Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Delhi. “She has to make a living…pay her lawyers,” the lawyer said. To facilitate her release on Wednesday, the lawyer also requested for cash bail.
Special public prosecutor Prakash Shetty urged the court to fix the bail amount of Rs one lakh. He also said that there are chances of Bharadwaj tampering with evidence and that she should mark her presence at the NIA office at least once a month. The court, however, said she should report to the nearest police station through WhatsApp video call fortnightly.
The court added, “There shall not be any gathering of visitors, other than near relatives, where the accused shall reside, within the jurisdiction of this court.” The court said that Bharadwaj should not indulge in any similar activities of which she is accused. “She shall not try to establish communication with co-accused or any other person involved directly or indirectly in similar activities or make any international call to a person indulging in similar activities as alleged against her, through any mode of communication,” the court said. “The accused shall not misuse the liberty,” the court said.
Among the 15 accused, Bharadwaj is the second to get bail. Poet and activist Varavara Rao is out on interim bail on health grounds. The 16th accused, Fr Stan Swamy (84), who was lodged at Taloja jail, died in July.

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