On Jyoti Jagtap’s appeal for bail, Supreme Court gives NIA 2 more weeks to respond | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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On Jyoti Jagtap’s appeal for bail, Supreme Court gives NIA 2 more weeks to respond

ByAbraham Thomas
Aug 22, 2023 10:29 PM IST

The Supreme Court said that it would assess at the next hearing in September if Jyoti Jagtap’s bail case fits into the formula it had laid down in July

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to respond to the bail request filed by Jyoti Jagtap, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence of 2018, and indicated that it may go by the “formula” laid down in the verdict that led to the grant of bail to two other accused, Vernon and Arun Ferreira, last month.

Jyoti Jagtap appealed for bail to the Supreme Court against the Bombya high court’s order last year that rejected her request (HT File Photo)
Jyoti Jagtap appealed for bail to the Supreme Court against the Bombya high court’s order last year that rejected her request (HT File Photo)

Jagtap, who is a member of Kabir Kala Manch, was accused of having links with the banned terrorist organisation Communist Party of India (Maoist) and was denied bail by the Bombay high court on October 17 last year.

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In her appeal challenging the high court’s decision, Jagtap through her lawyer Aparna Bhatt told the court that there was no incriminating material to link her with the larger conspiracy of waging war against the state or conspiracy for terrorist attack.

To a question by a bench of justices Aniruddha Bose and Sanjay Kumar, advocate Swati Ghildiyal appearing for NIA told the court that it was in the process of filing its response and sought another two weeks.

The bench permitted NIA time till September 14 and directed the matter to be posted for hearing on September 21.

Referring to its July 28 decision granting bail to two other accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence, the bench said, “We had decided on a formula in our earlier order. We will see whether this case fits into that formula.” The court also asked NIA to produce the relevant case materials filed before the trial court in this case.

Jagtap claimed that the whole case against her was based on statements of accused who alleged that Kabir Kala Manch is a front organisation of CPI (Maoist). It was this Manch which organised the Elgar Parishad at Pune where provocative speeches were made which was blamed for fomenting violence at Bhima Koregaon in January 2018.

The high court concluded that the material produced by NIA “clearly shows that the Elgar Parishad event was used and organised to establish underground contact with the banned organisation CPI(Maoist) through its activists which included the appellant.” The Bhima Koregaon violence resulted in death of one person.

Jagtap’s association with prominent members of CPI (Maoist) was used by NIA to show that she was part of the design by CPI (Maoist) to create unrest. The high court held that the Elgar Parishad event was a “smaller conspiracy within the larger design and conspiracy of CPI (Maoist) to further its agenda”

The Supreme Court’s July 28 decision to grant bail to the two accused laid down the formula that for a prima facie case to be proved under UAPA, the incriminating material had to be seized from the accused in question. It further held that mere possession of incriminating material may not be sufficient to constitute an offence unless the person accused is found to be the author of such material.

“Mere holding of certain literature through which violent acts may be propagated would not ipso facto attract the provisions of Section 15(1)(b) (referring to terrorist act) of the said Act,” the bench said in its July verdict.

The bench held that even to prove that a person is a member of a banned organisation, there must be intention to further the activities of such organisation on the part of the person implicated under such provision.

Jagtap was one of the 16 persons arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence. She told the high court that since investigation of the case was pending and the trial will take time to begin, she deserved to be released on bail. The special NIA court had previously rejected her bail request on February 14 last year.

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