2019 Gadchiroli blast case: Alleged Naxal operative moves HC for bail

Mumbai, Jun 8 (PTI) Sathyanarayana Rani, the husband of alleged Maoist leader late Nirmala Uppuganti, moved the Bombay High Court on Wednesday seeking bail in the May 2019 Gadchiroli IED blast case.

Uppuganti, an accused in the blast case, died of a prolonged illness at a hospice centre in April this year, while Rani, who is a co-accused, is currently lodged in Arthur Road Jail.

In the bail plea filed through senior counsel Yug Mihit Chaudhry and advocate Payoshi Roy, Rani claimed that there was no evidence against him in the case.

Roy informed a bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and VG Bisht that the National Investigating Agency (NIA), which is the prosecuting agency in the case, had no material on record against Rani.

All they have is some electronic evidence that includes clippings of speeches made by her (Uppuganti). I (Rani) have no role in these speeches. I was only living with her at the time in Hyderabad and was taking care of her since she was suffering from cancer, Roy argued.

She further pointed out that Rani had already spent over three years in custody as an undertrial and deserved to be let out on bail.

The state's counsel Prajakta Shinde sought time to respond to the bail plea.

The high court will hear the plea further on June 15.

Uppuganti was lodged at the Byculla women's prison here following her arrest by the NIA in 2019. On April 7 this year, after Roy had informed the high court of Uppuganti's deteriorating health, the court had permitted her to be shifted from the prison to a hospice.

The court had also allowed Rani to visit Uppuganti at the hospice care for fixed hours. The high court had at the time observed that undertrials, detainees and convicts did not cease to be human beings after incarceration. It had said that refusing Uppuganti's prayer would amount to a breach of her fundamental right to life.

A week later, Roy had informed the court that Uppuganti had died of cancer at the hospice.