August 20, 2021 8:27:52 pm
A special court Friday rejected the bail and discharge applications of Sathyanarayana Rani, arrested for his alleged role in the Naxal attack on security personnel in Gadchiroli in 2019.
The 71-year-old along with his wife, Nirmala Uppuganti, were arrested by Gadchiroli police in 2019. Police claim they were part of the conspiracy to carry out a blast targeting a vehicle with security personnel and say Sathyanarayana is a top Naxal operative.
Fifteen security personnel from the Quick Response Team (QRT) and one civilian were killed in an IED explosion attack on May 1, 2019 in Gadchiroli. The case was transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the two along with six others were shifted to jails in Mumbai.
Sathyanarayana had claimed in his defence that there was no role attributed to him as per the chargesheet filed by the NIA. It was also submitted that there was no evidence to show that he was involved in planting the bomb or execution of the conspiracy on the day of the incident.
The NIA in its chargesheet had said Sathyanarayana was a part of a conspiracy meeting held nearly a year before the attack in the last week of July 2018. It was claimed that the meeting was attended by “approximately 300 Naxal members from various groups” and the attack was planned to avenge the death of 40 persons by security personnel in 2018. Sathyanarayana’s lawyers claimed that there were no witnesses who had identified him to have been present at the meeting.
He also submitted that the central agency had attributed an alias to him to prove that he was a part of the conspiracy meeting but he denied any links with the name. Other grounds for bail included his old age.
The NIA had opposed both the bail and discharge pleas, stating there was evidence, including seizures made from the accused. It was claimed that Rs 10.32 lakh was recovered from the couple which are “unaccounted” for. The NIA also submitted that the accused has been booked in a serious offence involving an attack on security personnel and hence, he cannot be considered for release.
The accused have been booked under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other sections, including murder and criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code and other sections of the Arms Act and Maharashtra Police Act.