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NIA court denies bail to Father Stan Swamy

The tribal rights activist was arrested from his house in Ranchi on October 8 for his alleged role in inciting the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence

Sabrangindia 22 Mar 2021

Stan swamy

Special Judge under the NIA Act, DE Kothlikar, refused to grant bail to the 83-year-old tribal rights activist, Father Stan Swamy, accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, reported LiveLaw.

Father Stan, through his lawyer Sharif Sheikh, filed for bail on grounds that he is being framed in the case by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) due to the nature of his work. He also reportedly argued that the Persecuted Political Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPPSC), which NIA alleged was a frontal organisation of CPI (Maoists), is a human rights organisation that provides legal aid in Jharkhand.

Father Stan’s arguments

The Parkinson’s afflicted Jesuit priest had applied for medical bail in November last year with his application stating, “He has undergone two hernia operations and is still suffering from abdominal pain. He suffers intense pain due to lumbar spondylosis i.e., the tear and wear of the lumbar disc and tremors in both hands due to Parkinson’s. Infact, he has been shifted to the prison hospital and is being taken care of by other inmates”, reported LiveLaw.

Father Stan’s lawyer further argued that the NIA has been trying to build a nexus between him and the banned CPI (Maoist) and as per a LiveLaw report, Advocate Sheikh said, “The region is torn in conflict between the State and Naxalites. The prosecution (NIA) has at the most managed to establish that the applicant had some correspondence with others who could be members of banned organisations. Nowhere have they been able to establish that the applicant himself is a member of the banned organisation. Working for the undertrials who could or couldn’t have been Maoist does not make the applicant himself a Maoist. Nowhere has the prosecution been able to establish that the applicant was involved in any terror activity.”

The NIA also alleged that Bagaicha, an organisation founded by the priest and dedicated to empowering Adivasis and fighting against illegal detention of minors charged with frivolous cases of being connected with Maoists, is associated with Vistapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA) which is an organisation of the CPI (Maoist).

State’s arguments

Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Shetty, appearing for the National Investigation Agency, argued that the bail application was not maintainable, and there was sufficient material to establish a prima facie case against Father Swamy. The NIA denied that proper procedures were not followed while conducting searches at his house. SPP Shetty also claimed that Swamy tried to destroy evidence from his electronic devices, which showed his involvement in the CPI (Maoist) activities, as per Bar & Bench.

The central agency reportedly placed on record over 140 email communications between Father Stan and co-accused academics Anand Teltumbde, Rona Wilson and others, as a part of a group mail, reported LiveLaw. The NIA also held Father Stan’s criticism of “Operation Green Hunt” against him which he thought was a Government run program meant to “eradicate Naxals”.

In reaction to his application getting rejected, Father Jerome Stanislaus D’Souza SJ, the President Jesuits in India, issued a press release, expressing the dejection on behalf of the entire community. The press release states, “We are saddened to share with you the news that Father Stan Swamy has been denied bail today, on March 22, 2021, by the Sessions Court Judge in Mumbai. However, we continue to hope and pray that justice will prevail, and Father Stan will be released soon and acquitted after a fair trial, as we have deep faith in the Constitution of India and the judiciary.”

Fr. Stan Swamy was arrested from Ranchi by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the night of October 8 for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to instigate caste violence in the Bhima Koregaon village near Pune in 2018. He has been booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

It is pertinent to note that last month, the renowned Telugu poet Dr. Varavara Rao was granted bail on medical grounds for a period of 6 months, owing to his deteriorating health in the past one year, and while also taking into consideration his advanced age.

Dr. Rao, who has also been booked under UAPA like Father Swamy, was granted interim relief as the court observed, “This court, as a Constitutional Court, cannot be a mute spectator to the undertrial being sent to prison and then to Government Hospitals where his health deteriorates further, to be ultimately shifted to the Private Super Speciality Hospitals, upon intervention of courts and such movements of the undertrial continue back and forth only because his bail application has been turned down on merits under Section 43D(5) of the UAPA.”

(To be updated with order)

The press release may be read here:

Related:

Father Stan Swamy moves NIA court for bail

Bhima Koregaon case: Stan Swamy's bail plea rejected

83-year-old human rights defender Father Stan Swamy sent to Taloja Jail!

Bombay HC order on medical bail for Varavara Rao sets an imp precedent

NIA court denies bail to Father Stan Swamy

The tribal rights activist was arrested from his house in Ranchi on October 8 for his alleged role in inciting the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence

Stan swamy

Special Judge under the NIA Act, DE Kothlikar, refused to grant bail to the 83-year-old tribal rights activist, Father Stan Swamy, accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, reported LiveLaw.

Father Stan, through his lawyer Sharif Sheikh, filed for bail on grounds that he is being framed in the case by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) due to the nature of his work. He also reportedly argued that the Persecuted Political Prisoners Solidarity Committee (PPPSC), which NIA alleged was a frontal organisation of CPI (Maoists), is a human rights organisation that provides legal aid in Jharkhand.

Father Stan’s arguments

The Parkinson’s afflicted Jesuit priest had applied for medical bail in November last year with his application stating, “He has undergone two hernia operations and is still suffering from abdominal pain. He suffers intense pain due to lumbar spondylosis i.e., the tear and wear of the lumbar disc and tremors in both hands due to Parkinson’s. Infact, he has been shifted to the prison hospital and is being taken care of by other inmates”, reported LiveLaw.

Father Stan’s lawyer further argued that the NIA has been trying to build a nexus between him and the banned CPI (Maoist) and as per a LiveLaw report, Advocate Sheikh said, “The region is torn in conflict between the State and Naxalites. The prosecution (NIA) has at the most managed to establish that the applicant had some correspondence with others who could be members of banned organisations. Nowhere have they been able to establish that the applicant himself is a member of the banned organisation. Working for the undertrials who could or couldn’t have been Maoist does not make the applicant himself a Maoist. Nowhere has the prosecution been able to establish that the applicant was involved in any terror activity.”

The NIA also alleged that Bagaicha, an organisation founded by the priest and dedicated to empowering Adivasis and fighting against illegal detention of minors charged with frivolous cases of being connected with Maoists, is associated with Vistapan Virodhi Jan Vikas Andolan (VVJVA) which is an organisation of the CPI (Maoist).

State’s arguments

Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Shetty, appearing for the National Investigation Agency, argued that the bail application was not maintainable, and there was sufficient material to establish a prima facie case against Father Swamy. The NIA denied that proper procedures were not followed while conducting searches at his house. SPP Shetty also claimed that Swamy tried to destroy evidence from his electronic devices, which showed his involvement in the CPI (Maoist) activities, as per Bar & Bench.

The central agency reportedly placed on record over 140 email communications between Father Stan and co-accused academics Anand Teltumbde, Rona Wilson and others, as a part of a group mail, reported LiveLaw. The NIA also held Father Stan’s criticism of “Operation Green Hunt” against him which he thought was a Government run program meant to “eradicate Naxals”.

In reaction to his application getting rejected, Father Jerome Stanislaus D’Souza SJ, the President Jesuits in India, issued a press release, expressing the dejection on behalf of the entire community. The press release states, “We are saddened to share with you the news that Father Stan Swamy has been denied bail today, on March 22, 2021, by the Sessions Court Judge in Mumbai. However, we continue to hope and pray that justice will prevail, and Father Stan will be released soon and acquitted after a fair trial, as we have deep faith in the Constitution of India and the judiciary.”

Fr. Stan Swamy was arrested from Ranchi by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the night of October 8 for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to instigate caste violence in the Bhima Koregaon village near Pune in 2018. He has been booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

It is pertinent to note that last month, the renowned Telugu poet Dr. Varavara Rao was granted bail on medical grounds for a period of 6 months, owing to his deteriorating health in the past one year, and while also taking into consideration his advanced age.

Dr. Rao, who has also been booked under UAPA like Father Swamy, was granted interim relief as the court observed, “This court, as a Constitutional Court, cannot be a mute spectator to the undertrial being sent to prison and then to Government Hospitals where his health deteriorates further, to be ultimately shifted to the Private Super Speciality Hospitals, upon intervention of courts and such movements of the undertrial continue back and forth only because his bail application has been turned down on merits under Section 43D(5) of the UAPA.”

(To be updated with order)

The press release may be read here:

Related:

Father Stan Swamy moves NIA court for bail

Bhima Koregaon case: Stan Swamy's bail plea rejected

83-year-old human rights defender Father Stan Swamy sent to Taloja Jail!

Bombay HC order on medical bail for Varavara Rao sets an imp precedent

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