The Bombay High Court on Friday granted bail to Sathyanarayana Rani, an accused in the 2019 Gadchiroli blast case, where an IED blast killed 16 people, including 15 government forces personnel, reported Indian Express.
Rani’s wife and co-accused Nirmala Uppuganti, 61, who was arrested by the Gadchiroli police in 2019 for her alleged involvement in Naxal activities and was kept at a hospice care centre in Mumbai since last September, passed away in April this year.
A septuagenarian, Rani was lodged at Arthur Road jail.
As per the report, a division bench of Justice Revati Mohite-Dere and Justice V G Bisht on Friday passed a verdict in an appeal against the trial court bail rejection order by Rani, who is facing charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA), Section 302 (punishment for murder) of the Indian Penal Code and the Explosive Substances Act registered at Kurada police station, Gadchiroli. He had sought to be released on bail pending trial.
Advocates Yug Mohit Chaudhry and Payoshi Roy, representing Rani, told the high court that there is no incriminating evidence against him and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had no “material on record” against him.
Roy argued that the central agency only has electronic evidence, which includes clippings of speeches made by Uppuganti, and Rani had no role in those speeches.
The lawyers further said that Rani had spent over three years in custody as an undertrial prisoner and deserved to be released on bail pending trial. The NIA counsel opposed the plea.
Uppuganti, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2018, was shifted to a hospice care centre on the orders of the high court for palliative care from Byculla women’s jail after her cancer spread to multiple organs. The court had also allowed Rani to meet her at the care centre, reads the report.