After “closely and meticulously” going through the material gathered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), there is “prima facie no evidence” against Sathyanarayana Rani, an accused in the Gadchiroli Naxal attack of 2019 and husband of alleged Maoist leader and co-accused late Nirmala Uppuganti, observed the Bombay High Court while granting him bail.
The incident involved burning of 27 vehicles of an infrastructure company and detonation of a pressure bomb in Gadchiroli in May 2019 killing 15 policemen and a civilian.
A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and VG Bisht granted bail to Rani while hearing an appeal filed by Rani challenging the August 20, 2021 order of the NIA court rejecting his bail plea.
Rani was arrested on June 11, 2019 from Hyderabad. During the search of his house, where he stayed with Uppuganti, the police recovered various electronic items and a cash of Rs 10.32 lakh. The probe was transferred to the NIA on June 24, 2019.
The prosecution claimed that Rani was publisher of Prabhat magazine which contains the details of martyred comrades.The prosecutionhad submitted a pictorial presentation of the magazine,instead of the actual copy while opposing his bail.
The court noted that the magazine nowhere reflects Rani’s name as an editor or printer or publisher. The court also observed that none of the witnesses had identified him as the person who accompanied them to a camp where they were “trained in weapon handling and bomb making for better results for police party killing”.
“We have meticulously gone through the statements of prosecution witnesses and have also given our findings as to their nature and contents thereof. The material gathered by the investigation agency quaappellant accused and presented before us does not prima face point out the involvement of the appellant-accused in the aforesaid offences,” said the court.