Octogenarian Stan Swamy denied bail by NIA Court

A special NIA court at Mumbai Monday rejected the bail application of 83-year-old Father Stan Swamy in the Elgar Parishad case.

Swamy, a Ranchi resident has been lodged in Taloja Central Jail for the past five months.

Rejecting Swamy’s bail plea, judge Dinesh E. Kothalikar said if the seriousness of the allegations against him are considered, there would be “no hesitation” to conclude that the collective interest of the community would outweigh the right of personal liberty of the applicant. The judge also said old age or his alleged sickness would not go in his favour, “so that discretion to release the applicant can be exercised”.

The court held that there there was sufficient material available against the applicant and the co-accused.

“There are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusation of commission of the offences punishable under Chapters IV and VI of the UAPA against the applicant is prima facie true. Considering the express bar imposed by Section 43D(5) of the UAPA, the applicant cannot be released on bail”, the court said.

It added that the mere fact that the applicant was not present in Pune at the time of the Elgaar Parishad and that he has not been named in the FIR would not take his defence further. Considering the nature of allegations made against the applicant that he was an active member of a terrorist organisation, the facts as to his health would not be sufficient to tilt discretion in favour of the applicant.

The NIA Court held that from the documents on record, prima facie, it could be gathered that the applicant alongwith other members of the banned organisation hatched a serious conspiracy to create unrest in the entire country and to overpower the government, politically and by using muscle power.

“The material placed on record thus prima facie denote that the applicant was not only the member of banned organisation CPI (Maoist) but he was carrying out activities further in the objective of the organisation which is nothing but to overthrow the democracy of the nation”, it said.

Referring to exchange of around 140 e-mails between Swamy and co-accused, the court said without making reference to each and every e-mail, “suffice it to say that there was exchange of e-mails between the applicant and the co-accused. This goes to suggest that the applicant was also in touch with the co-accused. This can be said to be additional link to connect the applicant with the co-accused”.

Swamy contended that there was no prima facie material for implicating him. He pointed out the delay in lodging the report and the same has not been explained.

He said he had not played role in ‘Elgaar Parishad’; he was not even present at the time of said meeting. He had not been named in the FIR and his name was revealed for the first time in the remand report dated 21.08.2018.

Advocate Sharif Shaikh, for Stan Swamy, sought to rely upon a report published by ‘The Caravan’-a journalism magazine-claiming that the Hard Disk of accused Rona Wilson, was infected with a malware Win32: Trojan-gen.

The NIA, however, termed Caravan’s report a direct attack on the administration of the Criminal Justice System. It claimed that the Caravan without knowing the ground realities about the case had made an imputation against the investigation agency with guilty intention to mislead the general public and discredit the investigation agency and hamper the investigation. It also sought contempt proceedings against the magazine.

The NIA Court though refrained from initiating a proceeding for contempt of Court said that such extraneous material was not required to be considered while deciding the application for bail.

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