HC asks NIA to respond to Surendra Gadling’s default bail plea

Published on Jan 04, 2023 11:57 PM IST

Mumbai: Surendra Gadling, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, has filed an application in the Bombay high court challenging the June 2022 rejection of his default bail plea by the special NIA (National Investigation Agency) court

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HT Image
ByK A Y Dodhiya

Mumbai: Surendra Gadling, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, has filed an application in the Bombay high court challenging the June 2022 rejection of his default bail plea by the special NIA (National Investigation Agency) court. Gadling has also sought condonation of the delay of ten days in filing the application, which, he said, was because of a delay on the part of the prison authorities in providing a certified copy of the order. The HC has asked NIA to respond to the issue of condonation of delay.

The division bench of Justice A S Gadkari and Justice P D Naik, while hearing the appeal filed by Gadling through his counsel Yashodeep Deshmukh, was informed that although the default bail application was rejected on June 28, 2022, Gadling’s colleague got the certified copy of the order on July 15, and Gadling received it only on August 22 when he went for the hearing of the case.

Citing reasons for the delay in filing the appeal, Gadling said that though his colleague visited the jail and shown him the certified copy, the jail authorities had not accepted it, a fact that he came to know only when another visiting colleague told him about it. The jail authorities then directed Gadling to get the copy either through registered post or through a court order. Finally, on August 22, when Gadling went for the hearing of the case, he managed to get his hands on the copy. Gadling told the court that due to this, he failed to file the appeal within the 30 days stipulated under the NIA Act, and hence the delay of 10 days should be condoned.

In his default bail application in the special NIA court, which was filed along with pleas of four other co-accused – Shoma Sen, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale and Mahesh Raut – Gadling had claimed that the special sessions judge of the Pune court, who had extended their custody with the Pune police beyond 90 days in 2018, did not have the jurisdiction to do so since he was not a special judge under the NIA Act. Gadling and eight others had approached the HC on the same grounds but the default bail pleas of all except Sudha Bhardwaj were rejected. Bharadwaj was granted default bail on December 1, 2021.

The HC’s rejection of the others’ pleas was on the ground that their default bail applications were not filed within the stipulated period, which is after 90 days of the arrest and before the filing of the chargesheet. A review petition filed by the eight was also rejected. Gadling then pursued his default bail plea which was pending before the trial court.

After hearing the appeal for some time, the bench asked the NIA to file its reply on the condonation of delay.

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