April 1, 2020 10:34:12 am
A special court Tuesday rejected the temporary bail pleas of writer-poet Varavara Rao and retired professor Shoma Sen, accused in the Elgaar Parishad case along with seven others, who sought to be released from jail in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
In their bail applications, Rao (80) and Sen (61) had said they were vulnerable to the virus due to their age and underlying medical problems. The National Investigation Agency (NIA), however, had opposed the plea stating that there was no change in circumstances from the previous applications filed by the two.
“On facts and merits of the matter, admittedly, no change in circumstances occurred, while earlier bail applications have been rejected,” the court said. It also referred to the minutes of the meeting of a high-powered committee, appointed by the state government, which had directed releasing prisoners. “The minutes… excludes to grant any kind of bail to the offenders under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, in the backdrop of the outbreak of COVID-19 infections,” the court said. I added that since the two were booked under the Act, they were not entitled to the interim relief. The state government had announced that it will release prisoners, including undertrials, facing up to seven years imprisonment, as well as convicts with criterion including not allowing those under specific Acts, like the UAPA.
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