Bombay HC acquits GN Saibaba, five others in alleged Maoist links case | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Bombay HC acquits GN Saibaba, five others in alleged Maoist links case

Mar 05, 2024 03:10 PM IST

Saibaba and the five others had been sentenced to life imprisonment on March 7, 2017, for their alleged connections with Left-Wing Extremist organisations and for “waging war” against India

The Bombay high court on Tuesday acquitted former Delhi University (DU) professor GN Saibaba and five others in a case involving alleged Maoist links.

GN Saibaba, has been serving a life term in Nagpur central jail for alleged Maoist links since 2017. (HT file photo)
GN Saibaba, has been serving a life term in Nagpur central jail for alleged Maoist links since 2017. (HT file photo)

Saibaba and the five others had been sentenced to life imprisonment by a session court in Gadchiroli on March 7, 2017, for their alleged connections with Left-Wing Extremist organisations and for “waging war” against India.

The Gadchiroli district session court had also convicted JNU student Hem Mishra, former journalist Prashant Rahi, Pandu Narote, and Mahesh Tirki under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Narote passed away at a government-run medical college in Nagpur in August 2022 after contracting swine flu.

A division bench of the Bombay HC, comprising Justice Vinay G Joshi and Justice Valmiki SA Menezes, delivered the verdict on Tuesday after concluding the hearing and reserving judgment in September 2023, following directives from the Supreme Court.

Also Read: Bombay HC acquits former DU professor GN Saibaba, 4 others in Maoist link case

Appeals against the session court judgement of Gadchiroli were filed by Saibaba, Tirki, Mishra, Narote, and Rahi.

The session court had sentenced Tirki to ten years of rigorous imprisonment, while the remaining five, including Saibaba, were given life imprisonment.

The session court’s 827-page judgment found Saibaba and the others guilty of “waging war” against the state and having close ties with Left-Wing Extremists, including the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and its affiliated groups.

Saibaba, a specially-abled English professor, was arrested by Maharashtra police in May 2014 from his Delhi residence and was imprisoned at Nagpur Central Prison. He was later granted interim bail by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay HC.

However, later, he was rearrested.

Following his conviction by the session court, he was suspended from his position at Delhi University.

Saibaba came under scrutiny after the arrested JNU student Hem Mishra revealed during interrogation that he had acted as a courier between Saibaba and Maoist leaders, including Muppalla Lakshmana Rao alias Ganapathy, the then secretary general of the outlawed CPI (Maoist).

Mishra was apprehended in 2013 while carrying crucial information for top Maoist leaders in the Bastar region.

Despite Mishra’s claims during interrogation, the Nagpur bench of the high court found the allegations baseless and acquitted all the accused, including Saibaba, on Tuesday.

In response to the judgment, Sandip Patil, the inspector general of anti-naxalite operations in Maharashtra, stated that the government will appeal the decision in the Supreme Court.

Saibaba, 57, lost the use of his lower limbs owing to post-polio paralysis at age 4, and has been confined to a wheelchair since.

Vasantha GN, wife of Saibaba, welcomed the high court’s ruling, expressing satisfaction with the outcome and thanking individuals and human rights activists who supported Saibaba throughout the legal process.

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