A special NIA court on Wednesday, December 8, said lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj, who was granted default bail by the Bombay High Court in the Elgar Parishad case earlier, could be released from prison on furnishing the surety of Rs 50,000. As part of the conditions of the bail order, Bharadwaj has been asked not to make any statements before the media. She has also been told to not make international calls or make contact with any co-accused.
The court allowed Bharadwaj to submit the cash surety, which would enable her to walk out of the jail, either on Wednesday or Thursday. She is currently lodged at the Byculla prison in Mumbai. Other conditions laid down by the special court for her release include that she shall reside in the jurisdiction of the court and cannot leave Mumbai without the court’s permission.
On December 1, the Bombay High Court had allowed Bharadwaj's plea seeking default bail. It had, however, directed the special NIA court to decide on her bail conditions and the date of release. Accordingly, the activist was produced before special judge DE Kothalikar on Wednesday, December 8.
Bharadwaj was arrested in the Elgar Parishad case in August 2018 under the provisions of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday, December 7, dismissed the National Investigation Agency's appeal challenging the HC's order.
Bharadwaj is the first among 16 activists and academicians arrested in the case to have been granted default bail.
The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police alleged triggered violence the next day near the Bhima Koregaon war memorial located on the city's outskirts. The Pune police had alleged that the conclave was backed by Maoists. The probe in the case was later transferred to the NIA.