Updated: May 22, 2021 6:24:42 am
The Supreme Court Friday granted bail to Lok Sabha MP from Andhra Pradesh K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju in a sedition case, observing that the report of his medical examination indicated that he may possibly have been ill-treated in custody.
The rebel YSR Congress Party leader, arrested by the Andhra Pradesh Police on May 14 on the charge of sedition for alleged hate speeches against certain communities, had alleged that he was tortured in state police custody
A vacation bench of Justices Vineet Saran and B R Gavai said that the charges against Raju are not such as would require custodial interrogation as all his statements are already on record. “Considering the totality of the circumstances and also the health of the Petitioner, specially that he had undergone heart bypass surgery, we deem it just and proper that the Petitioner be enlarged on bail.”
It asked the Narasapuram MP to cooperate with the investigation. The bench said he should be given 24 hours notice by the investigating officer before being called for interrogation.
Raju was also directed to not present his injuries before the media or to give interviews on any aspect of the case.
Hearing his plea challenging the Andhra Pradesh High Court order asking him to approach the sessions court for bail, the Supreme Court had on May 17 directed that the MP be medically examined at the Army Hospital at Secunderabad, Telangana.
After going through the examination report, the bench Friday pointed out mentions of a fracture in the toe area of the left foot and other injuries.
Appearing for the MP, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi said the report meant that the allegation of torture was proven. “If this happens to a sitting MP what will happen to a ordinary person,” he said.
He submitted that Raju has been critical of Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. The sedition charge was added to make bail difficult, Rohatgi contended.
The senior counsel said that the Magistrate before whom the MP was produced had taken note of the injuries and directed a medical check-up.
The medical exam was done by a Medical Board under the aegis of a doctor of Government General Hospital, Guntur, whose husband is the leader of the legal cell of the state government, Rohatgi said.
Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, who appeared for the Andhra Pradesh, objected to the Chief Minister’s name being invoked, saying he is not a party to the proceedings.
He said that the injuries were not there when he was examined at the government hospital, Guntur, but were there in the examination report of the Army hospital. He submitted that the Medical Board was set up at the instance of the MP and something seems to have happened between the report of the Board and the report of the Army hospital, he said, adding: “We don’t know if these are self inflicted injuries or not.”
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