Asking the Maharashtra government to take proper care of her, the Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed the bail application moved by human rights activist Sudha Bharadwaj, accused in the Bhima-Koregaon riots case.
A bench of Justices Ramesh Dhanuka and Virendrasingh Bisht also ordered the state government and the Byculla women prison authorities to provide all possible support and medical help to Bharadwaj, as and she required.
The bench was seized with the plea moved by Bharadwaj through her counsel Ragini Ahuja, seeking bail on medical grounds.
Arguing for bail, Ahuja pointed out the two medical reports submitted by the jail authorities on July 21 and subsequently on August 21. "The first report stated that Bharadwaj was diabetic, hypertensive and also developed ischemic heart disease (narrowing of arteries and low oxygen level). This indicated that she is prone to getting infected and if contracted, she runs a risk of dying," the counsel argued.
"But the subsequent report submitted on August 21 was contradictory to the earlier one. It did not mention hypertension or ischemic heart disorder. It only stated that her vitals were stable. Thus, the new report is bogus," she added.
The counsel further said that the state have a vested interest in keeping Bharadwaj behind the bars but she runs a risk of dying, if infected. "The state cannot let her die in the prison," Ahuja submitted.
The submissions were vehemently opposed by additional solicitor general (ASG) Anil Singh, who represented the national investigating agency (NIA). "She cannot accuse the agencies and the authorities without a proof. In fact, we have taken full care. She is being provided with all the medical help, as and when required. All her medicines are available in the prison," the ASG told the judges.
"Just like Vara Vara Rao, a co-accused in the case, we will admit her in JJ hospital or even a private hospital, if she gets infected," the ASG pointed out.
Having heard the contentions, Justice Dhanuka noted that the reports are self explanatory. "The contention that there are inconsistencies in the two reports cannot be accepted as the second report (August 21) is focusing only on Covid test. We are inclined to accept the second report," Justice Dhanuka said.
The bench further noted that the jail authorities are giving immunity boosters to all the inmates and have been carrying out sanitization time-to-time. "She (Bharadwaj) is being provided with medicines and the government is funding the same. Thus, no case is made out for bail," Justice Dhanuka said.
"However, we hope and trust that the state government acts as per its assurance that it would provide all necessary medical help as and when required," Justice Dhanuka added, while dismissing the bail application.
Meanwhile, the bench also disposed of petitions filed by co-accused VV Rao and Vernon Gonsalves, after their families expressed satisfaction over the medical reports submitted by the jail authorities.