- SC Judges comment that Raju was ill treated by AP police
- Army report says there is invisible fracture on Raju’s leg
- Raju shall not talk to media
- To be available for investigaton by CID
New Delhi: Supreme Court on Friday granted conditional bail to Narasapuram Member of Parliament Raghu Ramakrishnam Raju in the case of sedition alleged by the CID of Andhra Pradesh. Raju has been asked to not interact with media, not to give interviews and not to talk about this case. He was also asked not to post anything in social media. Raju was asked to pay one lakh rupees personal bond. The judges asked Raju to be available for further investigation by the CID.
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Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Adinarayana Rao have appeared for petitioner Raghu Ramakrishnam Raju and Dushyant Dave and VV Giri argued for AP government. The arguments were in a virtual court. While Rohatgi said the officials of the AP government misbehaved with Raghu Ramakrishnam Raju, who is an MP and the fracture on his legs should be probed by CBI, Dave said there were no injuries on the 17th when Raju travelled from Guntur to Hyderabad and he fails to understand how the army doctors found fracture on the petitioner’s legs. He said both the doctors appointed by the AP high court and the SC have done honest job but the fracture seems to be strange.
Rohatgi said that the AP government did not follow proper policies. When Rohatgi said the petitioner has applied for cancellation of bail of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Dave objected. He said Rohatgi cannot make statements against the chief minister who has not been made party.
Rohatgi went on to say that FIR was filed against Raghu Ramakrishnam Raju by CID at Guntur while he lived in Hyderabad. “There was initiation of preliminary inquiry too. FIR has been lodged under various sections but most important is 124A. Their idea was to include 124 A after which bail would be difficult. That’s the modus operandi that they are trying to follow. Raju was picked up and taken to Guntur which is 300 kms away from his place.
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“Raju was in CID’s office and then he was produced before the magistrate. The magistrate took note of the injuries and the court ordered a medical examination. That medical examination shows contrary to what the magistrate saw with his naked eyes. According to us that was done with conspiracy of the state and the (medical) report said that Raghu Raju was okay.”
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Last year, said Rohatgi, pursuant to orders of Delhi High Court, his client was granted ‘Y’ level security by Central Force. We went to the HC for bail. The HC said the petitioner has to approach the lower court. But I have the right to also approach the HC under section 439 of CrPC. The second thing the HC said was that vacation does not allow this kind of cases and that’s why we approached to the SC.
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I have applied for bail, the HC did not exercise jurisdiction and the Supreme Court intervened and granted medical examination.
Rohatgi went on to say that his client has had open heart surgery in December. “Further refer to page 3. He is also suffering from Edima. There is a swelling. If you have high BP, you can have Edima. There are marks of that too. Further movements are restricted. Last line is undisplayed fracture of the 2nd toe. There were contusions on the sole of the feet. Someone in the custody of the police from 14th evening can cause all this to himself? It cannot happen. Kindly turn to page 40. The ADG gave directions to institute inquiry. All of these cannot be sedition. He’s only been criticising the govt.
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Sedition means causing disaffection & trying to overthrow the govt. That is sedition,” explained the senior advocate.
Rohatgi said,” One of the most basic judgements on sedition is Kedar Nath Singh, 1962, in SC. Here the constitution bench explained as to what is sedition. The instance of the speeches have been mentioned in the affidavit. My submission is as follows: 1. The ground of sedition is completely bogus 2. It is mala fide since he (the petitioner) has applied for cancellation of (Jagan’s) bail 3. There is torture by the State Police. He should be immediately granted bail. Also, the court should take Suo Moto notice of the injuries and let the CBI examine it.”
Rohatgi commented that if the same (fracture) is done by conspiracy of AP police, the same would have serious ramifications. Therefore on these grounds, Raghu Ramakrishnam Raju should be granted bail, he submitted.
Another advocate appearing for Raju, Adinarayana Rao referred to the judgment of Shashi Tharoor case on sedition.
Then it was the turn of Dave for State of AP to make his submissions.”The bail should be dismissed. The report by the Army Hospital is inconclusive. I have three submissions: 1. Based on Bihar Legal Services society case of 1967, the bail deserves to be dismissed. 2. Further this is an appeal under Art 136. When other reliefs are available, the SC is at discretion and thus the bail should be dismissed. 3. The AP HC has not decided the case on merits. The court has directed the petitioner to only move to the appropriate case. Consistent approach should be taken in these matters irrespective of the persons. 4. In the SLP there are 11 grounds and therefore no ground says that Raghu Ramakrishnam Raju is not guilty of sedition. Whether he is guilty or not will have to be gone into by the appropriate trial court.”
Dave said when he (the petitioner) does not dispute about the charges, the SC has no ground to grant bail.
Dave went on to say,”The courts have said clearly that one should be a responsible citizen and further you are an MP. Further he has tried to incite violence against two communities of Reddys & others in the society. His word carries weight and people follow him. Statements have been made for a long period of time. State Govt gave him enough time to rethink but he continued with his abuse. That’s why the state had to involve a very higher officer in this regards.”
Dave said, “Our team collected 45 videos and the comments there in are attached to the video. Raju targeted Reddy and Christian community thus inciting communal disharmony. These are serious allegations and they squarely fall within the mischief of Section 124A.”
Dave asked “Is this the responsibility of an MP and is this how he should call upon the followers to launch attacks on innocent people? Persons of influence owe a duty and bigger the position, bigger would be the responsibility. That’s what the SC has said in 2021. Only because he is an MP, he cannot come to the SC when other remedies are available. What has the HC done? The Court has not done anything.
Kangana Ranaut will get protection, he (Raju) would get X, Y, Z security. But we are not protected, commented Dave.
Judges said humorously, “We are not protected too.”
“Today you might say that X is related to Y (with reference to the comment that the president of the medical board appointed by court in Vijayawada was related to CM) and it was on your instance that the board was constituted. I am not saying that Army’s report is wrong but something seems to be wrong. Both reports are honest. Please see page 104 para 5 last 6 lines. The HC is not unmindful to the aspects of the citizens. They don’t have to come to SC. I agreed for the examination, little did we know that we’ll fall into the trap,” said Dave. At this stage the judges said “there is no trap.”
Dave added that Edima is something which is present in most adults. It is a health condition. Dave further reads the medical reports.
Dave said, “This gentleman when he was directed to be admitted to the hospital refused to go in the ambulance preferring to travel by his car.’ Dave shows a video in which Raghu (Ramakrishnam) Raju kept up his foot to show people his injury. He was waiving at the people & giving interviews to media. The fracture at the foot is an undisplayed fracture which means it has not displaced any bone or any muscle. On May 16 he didn’t have it & the army hospital has found it on May 17. If the police wanted to cause torture, would it be on the second finger of the foot? No police in the country would deal with an MP in such a manner.”
Dave said Adinarayana Rao himself was in HC when it asked to constitute the medical board. I have X- Rays which show that there are no marks of injury. His conduct of travelling in the car and putting his leg in such a manner throughout a 300 km journey might have caused this.
Dave has commented that Rohatgi asks for CBI enquiry, why doesn’t he say to impose President’s rule in the state?
Court asked Adinarayana Rao if the video is correct. Rao said all of this is incorrect.
Dave: He was travelling in his car? See this is the problem. He is an MP and he can take law in his hands. Dave cites various conversations between Raghu Ramakrishnam Raju and media while he was travelling from Guntur to Army Hospital, Secunderabad.
Nazki for State intervened to say that the petitioners have not denied the averments made in para 6. Rest they’ve denied.
Dave further read a judgement in support of the contention that the SLP under Art 136 should be dismissed. He (the petitioner) has so much money that Rohatgi submitted that Raghu Ramakrishnam Raju would buy his own plane and fly to Delhi, AIIMS. However the court refused it.
The judges commented on lighter side that majority of cases are coming here for anticipatory bail & bail only. Then Dave said it is only in Arnab Goswami’s case and this case that people are coming to this court without exhausting all the remedies available to them. High Court has only asked him to go to the appropriate court and this does not give them the ground to approach the Supreme Court.
Dave said so far as sedition charges are concerned, please refer to Section 124 A.
This man is causing communal disharmony and inciting people to beat corona volunteers. Dave reads section 124A of IPC which deals with sedition. “Look at his statements, are they not trying to incite violence and destabilise the state govt? asked Dave.
Dave further refers to the judgement of Bhima Koregaon case passed by the SC in 2018. He also said a large number of people for Delhi riots, the journalist who covered Hathras incident are in Jail.
Dave added, “I further beseech the court to not entertain 136 petition in case there are efficacious remedies are available. Here these remedies are available. He then referred to Akhil Gogoi, young activist form Assam, case. He further cited SLP of Kerala Union of Working Journalists in siddique kappan case.
Dave submitted that the suo moto contempt proceedings by AP high court be set aside.
Rohatgi took up the argument once again. “I have not come in Art 32 but under Art 136 appealing against the bail order. I approached the HC under section 439 CrPC and they did not entertain it. Not entertaining the petition amounts to violation of Art 21. The senior advocate read out the judgement in Kedar Nath case. The 24th para of the judgement says subverting the government and not criticism of the government amounted to sedition. He commented that unfortunately nobody reads the law. He called the case as state sponsored terrorism and called it a bogus case requesting for CBI investigation.
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Senior advocate appearing for AP government VV Giri said if the petitioner is granted bail, he should be asked to cooperate with the investigation and the videos which have been uploaded be deleted as already a lot of damage has been done. He reqested the judges to pass judgment on the suo moto proceedings proposed by high court.