A week after she was taken into custody by the Hyderabad police, journalist and former CEO of Telugu news channel Mojo TV, Revathi Pogadadanda, was granted bail by a local court on Friday.
Revathi was granted conditional bail after a case was registered against her under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The case was registered based on a complaint by a guest who had appeared on the channel in January for a debate on the entry of women into Sabarimala temple in Kerala.
The court asked her to submit two sureties of Rs 20,000 and also directed her to present herself at the Banjara Hills police station every Sunday for the next two months. As per condition, her passport was also submitted.
Revathi was moderating the discussion along with another anchor, Raghu, who got into a heated argument with a guest, identified as Varaprasad. The guest later approached the police stating that the channel had ārevealedā his Dalit identity publicly and insulted him by asking him to āget outā while he was on air.
While the case was filed in January, the police swooped down on Revathiās residence last week and took her in for questioning, before they subsequently declared that she had been arrested.
While Raghu is the main accused in the case, Revathi was accused number 2.
During the hearing on Thursday, the Public Prosecutor and the complainant insisted that Revathi should not be given bail, since Raghu was yet to be arrested, and they contended that she might influence the investigation.
Speaking to TNM on Friday morning, Revathiās husband, Chaitanya Dantuluri, alleged that there was an intentional delay in the hearing process and attempts were made to stall Revathiās bail petition for one more day, so that she would be forced to stay in jail for another weekend.
āThe police did not even submit the video evidence on which the FIR was filed. We made three copies and gave one to the court and one to the public prosecutor to avoid any delay tactics being used in the case. It was almost like a trial, not a bail petition,ā Chaitanya alleged.
The judge then adjourned the case on Thursday, to review the footage.
Revathi has been alleging harassment by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)-led state government for the last few months, ever since a case of forgery was booked against her mentor Ravi Prakash, the former CEO of Associated Broadcasting Company Private Limited (ABCPL), the parent company of news channel TV9.
She has also alleged that influential businessman Jupally Rameshwar Rao, owner of real estate company My Home Group, who is known to be close to various politicians including Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, was involved in this harassment.
Revathiās arrest was also condemned by the Hyderabad chapter of the Network of Women in Media (NWMI).
āThe singling out of Revathi for arrest by Telangana police smacks of political vendetta and is an assault on freedom of speech of journalists, and their right to defend the independence of media. We urge Telangana police to refrain from such intimidation of journalists in the state as this case seems to have set a new precedent to the attacks on journalists,ā the NWMI had said in a statement.