The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to GN Saibaba, a Delhi University professor arrested for alleged Maoist links, on medical grounds.
“You have been extremely unfair to the accused, specially given his medical conditions. Why do you want him in jail if key witnesses have been examined? You are unnecessarily harassing the petitioner,” the bench headed by justice JS Kehar--which allowed Saibaba’s bail plea--told the Maharashtra government counsel when he opposed the release petition.
The lawyer said eight witnesses were left to be examined who, he assured, would be examined in two days.
Arrested in May 2014 from the Delhi University campus, the wheelchair-bound teacher has been in Nagpur jail. He had moved the SC complaining that he was made to travel 170 km every time to attend his case.
On the last date of hearing, the Maharashtra government had opposed moving Saibaba out of Nagpur jail to Gadchiroli district where the case against him is being heard. The state government said the area was infested with Maoists who may try to rescue him.
The SC had on February 23 questioned Saibaba’s solitary confinement and asked the state government to make alternate arrangement to house him at Gadchiroli.
“We want you (state) to make him comfortable. Tell us how you will make him comfortable. You cannot have him in solitary confinement,” the SC had told state counsel Nishant Katneshwarkar, directing the state to provide sufficient medical facilities to Saibaba.
In response, Maharashtra said it received intelligence inputs that Maoists have launched a campaign to free the professor.
“There were instances wherein the Naxal leaders were rescued by the Naxalites in Jahanabad (Jharkhand), Dantewada (Chhattisgarh) and Belampalli (Andhra Pradesh),” the government affidavit read.
It referred to a press note published on a website, calling upon the cadres to launch a nationwide public agitation for Saibaba’s release. The note, it said, called upon the cadres to use all means to get him out of custody.
The government was willing to have video recording facility to avoid him undertake long distance road journey.