Amid talk of deal for Menon,court denies Maoists bail

A Rajpur court today rejected the bail applications of two suspected Maoists.

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj | Raipur | Updated: January 6, 2014 6:14 pm

A RAIPUR court today rejected the bail applications of two suspected Maoists whose release was allegedly part of a deal for the release of Collector Alex Paul Menon.

While the bail petition for Meena Chaudhary had been filed yesterday,that for Malti alias Shantipriya Reddy was filed today. The government counsel did not oppose either of the bail petitions saying he had been directed to do so in “public interest”.

However,Additional Sessions Judge B P Verma denied bail to both. “Their bails have been rejected earlier. These are serious cases. I don’t consider it appropriate to grant them bail,” the judge said. Government counsel Sharma hinted that they may go to “courts above” against this order.

While Reddy is the wife of prominent Maoist leader Gudsa Usendi,Chaudhary,24,is unmarried. Lodged in Raipur jail,both were arrested in January 2008 for allegedly spreading Maoist network in urban areas.

Collector Menon reached home in Sukma today 13 days after he was abducted. Later in the day he resumed charge at the Sukma district headquarters.

Incidentally,while the agreement between the Maoists and the government for the release of Menon mentioned only “review of cases pending for prosecution and investigation” by a high-power panel,both Reddy and Chaudhary are listed in police records as “hardcore Maoists”. While Reddy is from Andhra Pradesh,Chaudhary is from Chandrapur in Mahararashtra.

After the Maoist-government agreement,the mediators on behalf of the Naxalites,B D Sharma and Professor G Hargopal,had claimed a new beginning and said it would lead to “freedom of thousands of innocent tribals”. Neither Reddy nor Chaudhary is a tribal.

Congress leader Mahendra Karma accused the government of striking a “deal” with the Maoists and demanded that it be disclosed.

Chief Minister Raman Singh as well as B D Sharma rejected the charge. “Everything is transparent,” they said in separate press conferences in Delhi and Raipur,respectively. However,Sharma admitted: “Yes there was an understanding that the government will not oppose bail (to them).”

Government counsel S K Sharma told the Raipur court: “In public interest and under changed circumstances,the government has no objection if the court gives them conditional bail.” He later said he was directed by the government not to oppose bail.

In Delhi for Saturday’s meeting on the controversial National Counter Terrorism Centre plan,CM Raman Singh sought a national policy to deal with hostage situations,saying Chhattisgarh alone wasn’t facing the problem. “I will request the prime minister tomorrow to discuss this issue with the chief ministers,” he said.

This is the first time that any chief minister has openly sought a common hostage policy. The idea has been discussed several times in administrative circles but there has been no consensus on the issue.

Recently,the Home Ministry had written to all state governments seeking their views on having a uniform set of guidelines to deal with hostage situations. The states are in the process of replying.

Raman Singh said Collector Menon was working for the development of the district and it was essential to ensure that “such efforts do not get interrupted by kidnappings”.

with ENS,Delhi

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