New Delhi: The Supreme Court on 21 May granted bail to rebel YSRCP Narasapuram MP K. Raghu Rama Krishna Raju who was arrested by the Andhra Pradesh CID on sedition charges last week.
Granting him bail, a Bench of Justices Vineet Saran and B.R Gava said, "The FIR was lodged only after a detailed inquiry by the state CID. Considering the totality of the circumstances and also the health of the petitioner, especially that he had undergone heart bypass surgery, we deem it just and proper that the petitioner be enlarged on bail."
The Bench also opined that on the basis of the medical report from Army Hospital, Secunderabad, possibilities of the petitioner's ill-treatment in custody cannot be ruled out.
The court said that he has been prohibited from giving any interview to print or visual media on this case or anything else. Further, the court directed, "Please ask the petitioner to not display injuries to the press, else it will be an obstruction of justice. We will take a serious view of the same."
Mr. Raju is required to furnish a bond of Rs. 1 lakh and two sureties of the same amount before the trial court within 10 days. He has also been directed not to tamper with any evidence or witness.
Meanwhile, the YSRCP rebel MP had alleged that he is being targeted for criticizing the ruling party and that he was tortured in custody. The medical report submitted by the Army Hospital stated that there are several injuries on the MP's body, including a fracture. Mr. Raju urged the court to take suo moto cognizance of his injuries and direct a CBI inquiry into the same.
On perusing Mr. Raju's medical reports, the court found that he had suffered a fracture to his toe among other injuries. Pointing this out, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Mr. Raju, said, "That means the allegation of torture is proven. If this happens to a sitting MP, what will happen to an ordinary person?"
Mr. Rohatgi argued that bail should be immediately granted to his client and that a probe be conducted to ascertain how he suffered the injuries. He also argued that Mr. Raju's statements are mere criticism of the state's actions and in no case can they be classified as sedition and made punishable under Section 124A of the IPC.
He stated that the section has been included to make the offences non-bailable. He also submitted that the MP is being tortured in custody, as evident from his medical reports. He should be released on bail and the investigation be transferred to the CBI, Mr. Rohatgi added.
The state, on the other hand, represented by senior advocate Dushyant Dave, argued that the SLP should be dismissed on the ground that the petitioner has an alternate remedy for applying for bail before the trial court. He further said that Mr. Raju holds a significant authority and his inciteful words have a greater impact on the citizens. "Bigger the position, the greater is the responsibility," he argued.