New Delhi: The Supreme Court on 17 May directed that YSRCP MP K. Raghu Rama Krishna Raju, who has been arrested by the Andhra Pradesh CID in a sedition case, be taken to Secunderabad Army Hospital for medical examination with respect to allegations of custodial torture.

A division Bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and B.R Gavai passed the order in a special leave petition led by Mr. Raju against the order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court which refused to entertain his bail application. The High Court had declined interference saying that Mr. Raju should first move the sessions court for bail. The MP was arrested on Friday in Hyderabad on charges of sedition and was taken to the Crime Investigation Department (CID) in Guntur district.

The Supreme Court passed the order for medical examination taking note of the fact that the magistrate has noted injuries in his body and that he had undergone a heart surgery last year. The SC directed that Mr. Raju be taken to the Army Hospital in Secunderabad on Monday itself. The medical examination must be done in the presence of a judicial ocer nominated by the Telangana High Court. The medical examination must be videographed and the records be submitted before the court in a sealed cover. The expenses of treatment must be borne by Mr. Raju. He shall be kept in hospital admission till further orders of the court and the period of admission will be treated as judicial custody, the Bench said.

After he was arrested on 14 May, Mr. Raju was taken to the CID office in Guntur district where he was allegedly tortured by five persons. He has been booked under Sections 124A (sedition), 153B (making remarks that cause communal disharmony or undermine national integration), and 505 (making statements that cause public mischief) of the IPC.

According to the CID, he was indulging in a "systematic, schematic effort to cause tensions among communities and by attacking various government dignitaries in a way that will cause loss of faith in the government which they represent". Refusing to grant him relief, the Andhra Pradesh HC had directed him to approach the concerned trial judge. However, the plea in the apex court argues that the HC failed to note that he is an MP and a "responsible citizen".

The Supreme Court will consider the matter next on Friday. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Mr. Raju, told the Supreme Court Bench that his client was targeted for being a critic of the YSRCP. Mr. Rohatgi prayed for an ad interim bail and a medical examination at a neutral hospital as Mr. Raju has been beaten during custody. He pointed out that last year Mr. Raju had to procure Y category security cover after approaching the Delhi High Court as he was facing internal threats.

Mr. Rohatgi stressed that there was no incitement or call for violence in the speeches given by Mr. Raju, and therefore there was no basis for invoking the offence of sedition under Section 124A of the IPC. "Today, the governments as a matter of course are adding 124A, so that a man does not get bail because courts feel it is a serious matter," Mr. Rohatgi said.

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