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SC suspends Bombay HC order acquitting Saibaba, others in Maoist-links case, convicts to remain in jail

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Saturday suspended the Bombay High Court order acquitting former Delhi University (DU) professor G N Saibaba and others in a Maoist-links case.

The high court acquitted Saibaba and others in the case on Friday.

An apex court bench of justices M R Shah and Bela M Trivedi, which sat on a non-working day to hear the matter, also rejected Saibaba’s request for putting him under house arrest in view of his physical disability and health conditions.

It stayed the release of all the accused in the case, including Saibaba, from jail, as directed by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.

It sought responses from Saibaba and the other accused on a plea moved by the Maharashtra government against the high court order.

More than eight years after his arrest, the Bombay High Court acquitted Saibaba on Friday and ordered his release from jail, noting that the sanction order issued to prosecute the accused in the case under the stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) was “bad in law and invalid”.

The Nagpur bench of the high court allowed Saibaba’s appeal, challenging a 2017 order of the trial court that convicted him in the case and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Apart from Saibaba, the court acquitted Mahesh Kariman Tirki, Pandu Pora Narote (both farmers), Hem Keshavdatta Mishra (student) and Prashant Sanglikar (journalist), who were sentenced to life imprisonment, and Vijay Tirki (labourer), who was sentenced to 10 years in jail. Narote died during the pendency of the appeal.

Saibaba, 52, who is wheelchair-bound due to a physical disability, is currently lodged in the Nagpur central prison. He was arrested in February 2014.

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