Suspended Delhi University professor GN Saibaba and five others have been sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court in Maharashtra for their “links” with Left-wing extremist organisations and “waging war” against India.
Apart from the professor, the Gadchiroli sessions court also convicted Jawaharlal Nehru University student Hem Mishra, former journalist Prashant Rahi and three others for the same offence under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Saibaba, the wheelchair-bound English professor, was arrested by the Maharashtra police in May, 2014, for his alleged links with the top leaders of the outlawed CPI (Maoist) and was lodged in the Nagpur central prison for over two years.
He was later released on an interim bail by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court on the grounds of his deteriorating health condition.
Saibaba came under police scanner after the arrested JNU student told police that he was acting as a courier between the professor and Maoist leaders, including Puppalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy.
Mishra was arrested in 2013 while he was on his way to Abujmarh in Maoist insurgency-hit Chhattisgarh. He had then told police that Saibaba, who he had met at his Delhi residence, asked him to pass on some “important” documents to the central leadership of the CPI (Maoist) in Abujmarh, near Chhattisgarh-Maharashtra border.
Rahi was also arrested in 2013 for his nexus with the extremists.
The Maharashtra government had recently claimed that Maoist cadres had launched a nationwide campaign for Saibaba’s release.