Bhima Koregaon: Surendra Gadling gets interim bail to perform mother’s death anniversary rituals

In September last year, Special NIA Court had rejected his emergency bail application to perform the final rites of his mother

Bhima KoregaonImage

The Bombay High Court has granted interim bail to Advocate and Bhima Koregaon accused Surendra Gadling from August 13 to 21 to perform his mother’s death anniversary rituals. Today’s verdict also coincides with his birthday.

Gadling had filed an appeal before the Bombay High Court against a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court order of September last year, which rejected his temporary bail plea to attend the final rites of his mother, who had died in August. After hearing the parties, the Bombay High Court had reserved its verdict on July 26.

Senior Advocate Indira Jaising, appearing for Gadling, reportedly argued before the High Court that since his family members were either hospitalised with Covid or under home isolation in August 2020, his mother’s funeral rites (cooling of ashes), rituals, and condolence meetings are pending. Gadling’s family has decided to perform these on her first death anniversary on August 15, 2021.

According to some media sources, the NIA opposed Surendra’s bail plea stating that the special court’s order was passed nearly ten months ago, and the reasons for bail sought at that time do not exist today. The agency referred to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act offences he has been booked under, arguing that they are very serious in nature.

But Jaising submitted that Gadling could be granted interim bail on “humanitarian grounds”, and the same was valid under section 43D of UAPA. She also referred to co-accused Sudha Bharadwaj, who was granted interim bail to attend her father’s final rites in 2019. She also contended that Gadling had been in jail since 2018 and not being allowed to grieve the loss of his mother with his family members deeply affected his mental health. But the NIA vehemently opposed his plea at every stage.

The Indian Express quoted Advocate Sandesh Patil, representing NIA, saying, “The appellant (Surendra Gadling) says that he wants to join the family for the last rituals, but the cremation is over. He has an elder brother and eight other family members who can perform those rituals on his behalf and new reasons given by him seeking interim bail do not stand today. The appeal should be dismissed.”

Gadling was arrested 3 years ago on June 6, 2018, and was charged under various Indian Penal Code sections for hate speech and sections 13 (punishment for unlawful activities), 16 (punishment for terrorist act), 17 (punishment for raising funds for terrorist act), 18 (punishment for conspiracy), 18-B (punishment for recruiting people for terrorist act), 20 (punishment for being member of a terrorist gang) of the UAPA.

He along with 15 other activists have been arrested in this alleged conspiracy case. The 16th person to be arrested in this case was Father Stan Swamy, who passed away on July 5, awaiting medical bail. The NIA has accused them of plotting to overthrow the Government, and being active members of the banned CPI (Maoists).

recent report by American digital forensics firm Arsenal, has unearthed evidence that 14 key files mentioned in the chargesheet against lawyer-activist Surendra Gadling were planted on his hard drive using Netwire, the very same malware that was used to plant false evidence on a laptop belonging to Rona Wilson, another accused in the case.

(To be updated with order)


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