NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to rebel YSRC MP Kanumuri Raghu Rama Krishnam Raju, who was arrested in a sedition case by AP CID.A vacation bench of Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai formed the prima facie opinion that Raju was possibly ill-treated while in police custody after going through the medical report submitted by Army Hospital in Secunderabad.
The apex court imposed several bail conditions on Raju, including that he should not give any interview to the media with regard to the case. On May 17, the top court had ordered forthwith shifting of Raju to the Army Hospital in neighbouring Telangana from a prison in AP for medical examination and hospitalisation till further orders.
Raju, an MP from Narasapuram, alleged that the sedition case was filed against him by the State police ‘because of political vendetta’ as he has been criticising the actions of his own party. “Considering the totality of the plea and the health condition of the petitioner since he has undergone open heart surgery, we deem it fit that the petitioner be enlarged on bail,” the SC order read, while directing Raju to cooperate with the investigation and present himself when called by the investigation officer.
He is required to furnish a bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties of the same amount before the trial court within 10 days. During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing, the bench stated that the report received from the Army Hospital mentioned that Raju has fracture in his toe. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Raju, said, “That means the allegation of torture is proven. If this happens to a sitting MP, what will happen to an ordinary person?” Please grant him bail and the matter of torture should be investigated by the CBI, he added.
Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the Andhra Pradesh government, however, opposed the contention and said, “Something seems to have happened between the examination by the medical board as requested by the petitioner and now with the Army Hospital examination. We don’t know if these are self inflicted injuries or not.”
On Raju’s statement that the sedition charge was invoked against him, Dave said, “He did not restrict himself to fair criticism of the government, but tried to stroke hatred among two communities. This caused public disharmony. Dave argued that the rebel YSRC MP’s plea seeking bail should be dismissed.
The bench was hearing two appeals, including one by Raju, against the AP High Court order dismissing his bail plea and asking him to go to appropriate forum for the relief. In the second appeal, his son K Bharath has sought Raju’s medical examination by a private hospital.
On May 15, the CID, which arrested Raju on various charges, including sedition, also named two media houses and others as accused in the case. They were charged for alleged offences under Sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 505 (statements conducing public mischief) read with 120B (conspiracy) of the IPC.
The CID, which registered the case on its own, alleged that “Raju did not restrict himself to fair criticism of the government but has made every attempt to create hatred, contempt disaffection towards the government. Not only has he done this through his words, but also used visual gestures of face and hands to provoke his followers to take up violence. They are seditious in nature.” It also alleged that the MP particularly targeted two communities and tried to stoke hatred against them by trying to portray that the government has been favouring the two.
What Supreme Court said
Charges against the petitioner are not such that custodial interrogation should be required
Considering the totality of the plea and the health condition of the petitioner since he has undergone open heart surgery, we deem it fit that the petitioner be enlarged on bail
MP Raju should not give any interview to the media and cooperate with the investigation