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HC grants bail to 72-year-old alleged Naxal operative accused in 2019 Gadchiroli blast case

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Bombay High Court, Sathyanarayana Rani, Naxal operative,
Image: Agencies

The Bombay High Court on Friday granted bail to Sathyanarayana Rani, a 72-year-old alleged Naxal operative, who is accused in the 2019 Gadchiroli blast case.
Fifteen security personnel of the Quick Response Team (QRT) and one civilian were killed in an explosion on May 1, 2019 in Gadchiroli in Maharashtra’s Vidarbha region.

A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and V G Bisht granted bail to Sathyanarayana. A detailed order with reasons and conditions imposed would be made available later.

Sathyanarayana is currently lodged in the Arthur Road prison in Mumbai. His late wife Niramala Uppuganti was also named as an accused in the case. The duo was arrested in 2019. Uppuganti died of cancer in April this year.

Sathyanarayana, in his bail plea filed through advocates Yug Chaudhry and Payoshi Roy, said that there was no evidence against him and that he has spent almost three years in jail as an undertrial and deserved to be let out on bail.

While initially the Gadchiroli police was probing the case, it was later transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The NIA in its charge-sheet had claimed that Rani was a part of the conspiracy meeting held nearly a year before the attack and that this meeting was attended by around 300 Naxal members. The attack was allegedly planned to avenge the death of 40 persons by security personnel in 2018.

The accused in the case have been booked under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and for murder and criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code.

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