Tribal rights activist from Jharkhand Stan Swamy, the most recent arrestee of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case, was denied interim bail by a special NIA court on Thursday. Special Judge under the NIA Act DE Kothalikar rejected the plea.
The octogenarian, who has Parkinson's disease, had sought temporary bail through his advocate Sharif Shaikh on medical grounds, citing his age, vulnerability to Covid-19 infection in crowded jail conditions and various other health ailments.
A relief was sought until there was a respite from the pandemic. Advocate Shaikh had said in the bail plea that the chargesheet was filed the very day Swamy had been produced before the court and the agency had not sought his custody for interrogation.
The Maharashtra High Powered Committee’s (HPC) guidelines advising courts to consider releasing prisoners above 60 years of age on temporary bail was also cited in the application. The NIA had opposed the plea and told the court in its reply that “in the garb of the current situation on account of the pandemic the accused is trying to take undue benefit of the situation in seeking bail” and that the “pleading with regard to medical condition is merely a ruse to obtain an order..."
The agency had also stated that the submission with regard to the medical condition of the applicant had no merit and that the prescription attached with the bail plea was an old one and did not indicate his current health condition. There was no merit whatsoever in the grounds pleaded by Swamy, it had said and that he was not entitled to relief as per the HPC guidelines.
Further, it said, Swamy has been charged for very serious offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and that considering the facts and evidence against him, he was not entitled to seek any relief. It had sought that his bail plea be rejected to meet the ends of justice