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Sudha Bharadwaj: NIA Court Sets Bail Conditions, Says She Must Remain in Mumbai

Bharadwaj will be released on a Rs 50,000 bond, will have to remain in Mumbai & can't speak to media about the case.

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Sudha Bharadwaj: NIA Court Sets Bail Conditions, Says She Must Remain in Mumbai
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The special NIA court in Mumbai on Wednesday, 8 December refused the request of Bhima Koregaon accused Sudha Bharadwaj to be granted lenient conditions for her release on bail, even as it passed an order for her release.

The court had been directed by the Bombay High Court a week earlier to set the conditions for Bharadwaj's release on default bail.

The court has now specified that Bharadwaj is to be released on a bond of Rs 50,000, with two sureties.

Bhardwaj can walk out of jail after the submission of the surety, either on Wednesday or Thursday, as per news agency PTI.

In addition, the NIA court has also laid down several other conditions, similar to those set out for the release of co-accused Varavara Rao on medical bail in February 2021. These include:

  • Bharadwaj will have to remain within the jurisdiction of the court, ie in Mumbai, and cannot return to Chhattisgarh where she used to practice as a lawyer.

  • She cannot leave Mumbai without the court's permission.

  • She needs to inform the NIA and the court about where she will be residing, and provide them with contact details for herself and for blood relatives. If she changes her residence, she will need to inform the court.

  • The NIA is to conduct a verification of her proposed residence before her release.

  • She will attend all proceedings in court connected to the trial and not cause any delays.

  • She cannot make any statement regarding the case to anyone from the media.

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Dr Yug Mohit Chaudhry, who was representing Bharadwaj, had asked the court to allow her to return to Chhattisgarh to resume her legal practice, as she had spent over three years in jail and suffered a serious loss of earnings, LiveLaw reported.

However, the NIA had opposed this request, claiming that there would be a possibility that she could tamper with evidence. Special judge DE Kothalikar observed that the court could not ignore that there were serious allegations under the UAPA against Bharadwaj, and that the NIA's concerns about tampering with evidence could not be ignored.

As a result, this request for leniency was denied.

Bharadwaj's legal team requested that she be released on bail itself and offered to provide details of her proposed residence for verification immediately. The judge has reportedly agreed to direct the process to be expedited, according to LiveLaw.

(With inputs from LiveLaw)

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