Despite UAPA Bail for Siddique Kappan, a Struggle to Find People to be Sureties
While Kappan has a pending ED case, he has been given bail in UAPA. But no one is wanting to stand as his surety.
Over a week after the Supreme Court granted bail to journalist Siddique Kappan, his lawyers are struggling to find two individuals who would stand as sureties for him. As this is a requirement for him to meet the bail conditions, it is delaying his bail. “Given the sensitive nature of the case...maybe people are hesitant in putting their name forward and helping Kappan,” his lawyer, Mohamed Dhanish told The Quint.
The Supreme Court had on 9 September ordered Kappan’s bail, following which on 12 September, he was produced before the trial court in Lucknow, where his bail conditions were read out. Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Anurodh Mishra directed Kappan to furnish two sureties of Rupees 1 lakh each and a personal bond of the same amount. “The bail conditions said that we need to produce two people who should have 1 lakh rupees worth of value either in their account or by way of assets—to stand as surety,” Dhanish said.
The advocate said that “Kappan’s wife and brother were also present, and I pleaded the court for relaxation that since the journalist is not a UP resident, they can act as sureties. But the court said no.”
The ED Money Laundering Case
The team of lawyers has been reaching out to Kappan’s well-wishers in UP, requesting them to act as sureties. “Usually, it’s very easy to get people who will put down their name as sureties. But I think because this is a sensitive case that has gotten so much attention, people are hesitant to come forward and help. We are still hopeful that we will find someone soon,” advocate Dhanish said.
Despite getting bail in the UAPA case, Kappan still has the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case lodged by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against him. The hearing for this will be on 19 September.
But meanwhile, his team wants to finish all the formalities pertaining to the UAPA case’s bail, in order to pave the way for his release. “We are hoping that the PMLA court will also grant him bail, so we need to ensure that the bail conditions of the UAPA case are already met,” the lawyer said.
Earlier this month, when the SC ordered the bail of activist Teesta Setalvad, her lawyer Kapil Sibal had contended that it would be difficult for her to get surety, and so the court had asked the trial court to consider granting her bail on submission of cash surety rather than local surety.
Kappan was arrested almost two years ago, on 5 October 2020, along with three others, while on their way to Hathras to meet the family of the Dalit rape and murder victim. They were charged with the stringent UAPA and other sections of the IPC.
In August, their driver Mohammed Alam got bail in the UAPA case, but just like Siddique, he too has an ED money laundering case against him where he is yet to get bail.
Kappan’s wife Raihanath said that the PMLA hearing on the ED’s charges against him is scheduled for 19 September, and she is hopeful he will get bail in that case too.
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