Apart from Saibaba, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court discharged five other prisoners in the Maoist connection case.
Afnan Habib | TwoCircles.net
NEW DELHI — Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba, a former professor at the Delhi University who was arrested in 2014 in a case involving alleged Maoist connections, was acquitted by the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur Bench on Friday. Saibaba’s appeal of a 2017 trial court decision that found him guilty and sentenced him to life in jail was permitted by a panel of judges led by Justices Rohit Deo and Anil Pansare.
Apart from Saibaba, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court discharged five other prisoners in the Maoist connection case. One of the prisoners, Pandu Narote, died of swine flu this year. The delay in receiving medical attention resulted in Narote’s death, alleged Nihalsing Rathod, his defense lawyer. Saibaba, who is wheelchair-bound and has a physical impairment of over 90%, also repeatedly claimed medical malpractice while in detention.
In March 2017, a Sessions Court in Gadchiroli sentenced Saibaba and others for alleged Maoist connections and engaging in activities akin to war against the country. They were found guilty of conspiracy, membership in a terrorist group, and providing material support to a terrorist group under various provisions of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Saibaba was named as the prime accused in the case and according to the prosecution, was the secretary of the Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF), a purported front group for the outlawed Communist Party of India.
Afnan Habib is a freelance journalist based in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. He tweets at @afnanhabib_