The Hon’ble Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to YSRCP MP K. Raghu Rama Krishna Raju, who had been arrested on charges of sedition and incitement of communal hatred on May 14.
The MP from Hyderabad had been arrested by Guntur CID and sent to a 14-day remand. Raju’s bail plea stated that he had been assaulted while in CID’s custody. He also complained of cardiac issues and mentioned his recent bypass surgery.
A 3-member medical team examined him on May 18, as per the directions of the Apex Court. The report was partially read in the Court and stated that he suffered from general edema, contusions, and a toe fracture.
Raju represents the Narsapuram constituency in Lok Sabha since 2019. In the recent past, he has been critical of YSRCP’s top leadership and has also questioned the governance style of Andhra CM Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. He has accused the CM of corruption and demanded an investigation into his 2012 disproportionate assets case, where the latter was granted bail.
Additionally, the CID statement read that “M.P. from Narasapur Raghu Rama Krishna Raju has been arrested at his residence at Hyderabad. There was information against Raju, stating that he has been indulging in hate speeches against certain communities and promoting disaffection against the government.”
“A preliminary inquiry has been ordered by ADG CID PV Sunil Kumar IPS. It was found that through his speeches, Raju was indulging in a systematic, schematic effort to cause tensions among the communities and by attacking various government dignitaries in a way that will cause loss of faith in the government which they represent. There is hate speech against communities and social groups also, which was used to foment social and public order disturbances in conspiracy with a few media channels.”
Raju had filed a petition in the Special Court for CBI cases in Hyderabad, seeking cancellation of bail granted to CM Reddy in the corruption case. The petition also alleged violation of bail conditions by the CM.
The CBI court had then issued notices to both the CM and the CBI, asking them to file their responses to the petition.
In his petition before the Supreme Court, the Lok Sabha MP also alleged that the state government had asked the DIG, CID, Amaravathi, to conduct an inquiry into his “actions in addressing the print and electronic media accusing failure of the chief minister and his government in dealing with Covid-related issues.”
He further stated that the high court “had failed to notice that the FIR is lodged by the State, which had an axe to grind against the petitioner, as he is critical of the functioning of the chief minister and his government and the case is nothing, but political vendetta….”
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for the Petitioner and argued that his statements were mere criticisms of the State Government and did not amount to treason. He also submitted that Raju was being tortured in custody and that he should be released on bail while his investigation should be transferred to CBI.’
Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave had represented the State, argued that the SLP should be dismissed on the ground that the Petitioner has an alternate remedy of filing a bail application before the trial court. He further argued owing to the position held by the Petitioner, his inciteful words have a more significant impact on the citizens. “Bigger the position, the greater is the responsibility.”
The vacation bench of Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai observed that custodial interrogation was not required. The Bench also observed Raju’s medical condition and his heart surgery last year.
Based on the medical report of the Army Hospital, Secunderabad, the Bench also gave its opinion that ‘the possibilities of the petitioner’s ill-treatment in custody cannot be ruled out.’
The Bench granted bail to Raju on the condition that he shall not make any statements in the media as long as the investigation lasts. He will have to cooperate in the investigation and cannot influence the witnesses. He also has to respond whenever the Investigating Officer calls upon him, who shall give him 24 hours to respond.
In addition to these conditions, Raju will also have to furnish personal bonds of Rupees One Lakh and provide 2 securities of the like amount before the Trial Court within a week.
The Court allowed the bail plea against the Order of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, which had refused to entertain his application.
The Supreme Court noted that the jurisdiction of the trial court and High Court under Section 439 CrPC are “concurrent,” and merely because Petitioner approached the High Court before the trial court, it would not mean that High Court was not to consider the plea.
This case has great significance considering the criticism of CM Jagan Mohan Reddy’s government from various sections of society since the start of 2021. Reddy has been accused of corruption, mishandling of COVID-19, giving a free hand to missionaries in conversion, and looking the other way in matters of temple attacks in his State.
It remains to be seen how the case against MP Raju unfolds and what impact, if any, it has on Reddy’s Government.
DISCLAIMER: This article reflects author’s view point. Goa Chronicle may or may not subscribe to views of the author