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Kabir Kala Manch case: SC grants bail to 3 KKM artistes held for ‘Maoist’ links

All 11 persons arrested in this case by the ATS have been granted bail

Kabir Kala Manch case, Supreme Court, KKM Artists, KKM Supreme court, Maoists, Maoists links, KKM Maoists link, Maharashtra police, Anti-Terrorism Squad, ATS, Maharashtra news, india news, indiane xpress news

The Supreme Court granted bail to Sachin Mali, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor — three artistes of the Kabir Kala Manch (KKM). The Maharashtra Police had branded KKM — a Pune based cultural group — as a “Maoist” front. A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and L Nageshwar Rao passed the order on Tuesday. With this, all 11 persons arrested in this case have been granted bail.

Sagar’s wife Rupali Jadhav, who is also a KKM artist, said, “Though late, we are happy that they have got bail. We now plan to strengthen our group and continue to fight against the social and political evils.”

Sachin’s wife Sheetal said, “We had surrendered because we believed in the justice system. Now, I feel justice is done as the SC has granted bail to Sachin, that too on January 3, which is the birth anniversary of Savitribai Phule. This is the victory of a progressive movement in the country. Sachin continued to write poems and articles even in jail. I feel motivated with his release. The two of us would now work in a more creative manner against casteism and social injustice.”

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Sheetal was the lead singer of KKM but has recently separated from the group. She performs separately and had also started a campaign for the release of her husband. The move is seen as a split within the group.

In May 2016, the SC had granted bail to alleged top Maoist leader Angela Sontakke, who was arrested along with KKM artistes by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) between April and May, 2011.

According to the ATS, Angela was allegedly the secretary of the banned CPI-Maoist outfit’s Golden Corridor Committee. The outfit allegedly aimed at spreading the Maoist ideology of armed struggle against the government and recruited new members from the urban areas of Gujarat and Maharashtra, and cities like Pune, Mumbai, Thane, Surat and Ahmedabad. It was alleged that Angela and her husband Milind Teltumbde, who is now claimed to be the central committee member of CPI-Maoist, indoctrinated some of the KKM artistes and other youths towards the Maoist ideology.


Senior lawyer Rebecca Jhon, along with advocates Ramesh Kumar and Jawahar Raja, represented the KKM artistes in SC. “We argued that all three artistes have been in custody for about four years. They were not involved in any kind of violence or criminal activities. The only allegation is that they were linked to a banned Maoist organisation. The prosecution had said in May 2016 that they would complete the trial within six months. But, so far, there has been no progress in the trial. Also, all others arrested in this case were granted bail. SC was convinced with our arguments and granted bail to the three artistes,” said advocate Rebecca Jhon.

The ATS had arrested Angela from Thane in April 2011, along with six others including Sushma Ramteke, Anuradha Sonule, Mayuri Bhagat — all three from Chandrapur, Jyoti Chorge of Pune, Siddhartha Bhosale and Deepak Dhengle — both KKM artistes from Pune.

All were booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). Then, ATS booked eight more persons in this case, including Milind Teltumbde, Jyoti and KKM artistes Sheetal Sathe, her husband Sachin Mali, Ramesh Gaychor, Sagar Gorkhe, Prashant Kamble and Santosh Shelar.


Milind, Jyoti, Shelar and Kamble are still on the run.

Investigators believe that Shelar and Kamble — both residents of Kasewadi and Tadiwala Road slums in Pune — have joined the armed Maoist cadres in jungles.

In January 2013, the Bombay High Court (HC) granted bail to Sushma, Anuradha, Mayuri, Jyoti Chorge, Siddhartha and Deepak, saying that the suspects could be “sympathisers of Maoist philosophy” but “none can be said to be active members of the banned CPI-Maoists”.

Meanwhile, Sheetal and Sachin surrendered on April 2, 2013, by staging “Satyagraha” in front of the Mantralaya in Mumbai. A few days later, Ramesh and Sagar too surrendered. Sheetal was granted bail as she was pregnant.

The ATS submitted a chargesheet before the court, alleging that these four KKM members, including Sheetal, had participated in arms training with about 150 Naxals in jungle areas of Gadchiroli between November 2011 and April 2012, while they were on the run.


ATS had recorded statements of the three surrendered Naxals, who reportedly identified the KKM artistes as active members of CPI-Maoists. The HC had then rejected the bail pleas of Sachin, Sagar and Ramesh.

Sachin is lodged in Arthur Road prison, while Sagar and Ramesh were in Taloja Jail.

First published on: 04-01-2017 at 00:00 IST
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