Supreme Court grants conditional bail to K. Raghu Ramakrishna Raju, MP from Andhra Pradesh who was arrested on sedition charges

Published : May 22, 2021 14:14 IST

K. Raghu Ramakrishna Raju, MP. Photo: C.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

 

The Supreme Court on May 21 granted conditional bail to K. Raghu Ramakrishna Raju, MP from Andhra Pradesh, exactly a week after he was arrested on sedition charges.

Raju was arrested by the Andhra Pradesh police’s Crime Investigation Department (CID) from his Hyderabad residence on May 14 and sent to a 14-day remand until May 28 by a CID court in Guntur. In his bail plea in the Supreme Court, Raju alleged that he had been assaulted by the CID while in custody and complained of cardiac issues, citing the recent bypass surgery that he had undergone.

Acting on the directions of the Supreme Court, a three-member medical team examined Raju on May 18 at the Army Hospital in Secunderabad, Telangana. Their report, which was partially read out in the Supreme Court, said that Raju suffered from general oedema, contusions and a toe fracture.

Mukul Rohatgi, arguing for Raju’s bail, alleged that Raju had been tortured and that Raju had only indulged in fair criticism of the Andhra Pradesh government and that there was no case for sedition.

Opposing the bail plea, Dushyant Dave, senior advocate for Andhra Pradesh, said Raju had incited violence and hatred among various castes and religions and that the injuries on his feet and legs “may have been self-inflicted”.

A vacation bench of Justices Vineet Saran and B.R. Gavai ruled that the charges arrayed against Raju did not merit keeping the 59-year-old MP in custody, nor did the charges require custodial interrogation. The bench, after a marathon hearing that went on beyond normal court hours, ruled that in its view, prima facie, it found that there was “a possibility that the petitioner was ill-treated while in custody”.

The bench ruled that Raju should cooperate with the police and present himself when called for interrogation and that he should be given 24 hours’ notice by the investigating officer. Raju is also prohibited from speaking to the media on “any subject which relates to the case”.

Raju, who represents the Narsapuram Lok Sabha constituency and was elected on a ticket of the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) in 2019, has, in recent months, revolted against the party’s top leadership, criticising the style of governance of the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, even accusing him of corruption. On April 27, he demanded the cancellation of the bail granted to Jagan Mohan Reddy in a disproportionate assets case dating back to 2012. Raju claimed that the Chief Minister had violated his bail provisions.

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