Former Nagpur University professor Shoma Sen was released from jail on Wednesday, days after she was granted bail by the Supreme Court in the Bhima Koregaon case. She had been in jail since June 6, 2018.

Sen’s lawyer, Indira Jaising, confirmed her release on X.

Sen is among 16 academicians, activists and lawyers who were charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for their alleged role in instigating caste violence at Bhima Koregaon near Pune in January 2018.

While granting bail to Sen on April 5, the top court observed that the allegations of terrorism against her are prima facie untrue.

“If we examine the acts attributed to [Sen] by the various witnesses or as inferred from the evidence relied on by the prosecution, we do not find prima facie commission or attempt to commit any terrorist act,” the bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Augustine George Masih observed.

The top court also said that the National Investigation Agency had failed to prove the allegation that Sen funded terrorist acts or received any money for that purpose. “What we can infer on the basis of the materials produced before us are mere third-party allegations that money has been directed to be sent to her,” the court said. “None of the materials reveal receipt of any funds by her or her direct role in raising or collecting funds.”

The Supreme Court held that Section 43D(5) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act – which requires a court to deny bail to persons accused of terrorism if there are reasonable grounds to believe the allegations against them – would not apply in Sen’s case.

The court also cast doubt on the allegations of conspiracy against the former professor. Sen’s “participation in some meetings” and attempts “to encourage women to join the struggle for new democratic revolution” did not reveal the commission of an offence under the anti-terrorism law, it said.

The National Investigation Agency has alleged that Sen “is an active member of CPI (Maoist) and conspired with other accused persons to violently overthrow democracy and the State”.

However, the court said that its observations were only prima facie views and that the future course of the trial would depend on the framing of the charges against Sen by the National Investigation Agency. “If charges are framed, the nature of evidence the prosecution can adduce against her in trial, as also her own defence,” the bench said.

On March 15, the National Investigation Agency told the court that it did not need Sen in its custody any longer. The court granted Sen bail on account of her old age, poor health and the delay in the trial. She has been prohibited from leaving Maharashtra and has been directed to surrender her passport, if she has one.

Sen is also required to keep the Global Positioning System, or GPS, feature active on her mobile phone and keep it paired with the device of the investigating officer so that her location is known.

Sen is the sixth person accused in the Bhima Koregaon case to have been granted bail.

Trade union activist and lawyer Sudha Bhardwaj was granted default bail in 2021 after the National Investigation Agency failed to complete its investigation and file a chargesheet as per the anti-terrorism law’s stipulated time frame. Writer and caste scholar Anand Teltumbe received bail in 2022. Poet Varavara Rao was granted bail on medical grounds in 2022. Trade union activist Vernon Gonsalves and political cartoonist Arun Ferreira got bail in 2023.