The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to rebel YSR Congress Party MP Kanumuri Raghurama Krishnam Raju, Bar and Bench reported. Raju, who has been critical of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy in the past few months, was arrested on May 14 from his residence in Hyderabad on charges of sedition.
“In our view, considering the injuries as reported by medical board of army hospital, we can prima facie form an opinion that petitioner was ill treated while in police custody,” a division bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices Vineet Saran and BR Gavai said.
The judges added: “Charges against the petitioner [Raju] are not such that custodial interrogation would be required. Considering the totality of the plea and the health condition of the petitioner since he has undergone open heart surgery, we deem it fit that petitioner be enlarged on bail.”
The court also barred Raju from speaking to the media or displaying his injuries, and told him to cooperate with the investigating officer. Raju was asked to furnish a bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties of the same amount to the trial court within 10 days.
The court had on May 17 ordered that Raju should be taken to the Secunderabad Army Hospital for a medical inspection after the YSR Congress leader moved the court for bail alleging that the Andhra Pradesh CID had “beaten him mercilessly in custody”. The politician had also claimed that the case was fuelled by political vendetta.
On checking the medical reports on Friday, the court found that Raju had injuries such as a fracture to his toe. Raju’s counsel, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, said: “That means the allegation of torture is proven. If this happens to a sitting MP, what will happen to an ordinary person?”
The YSR Congress leader had first moved the Andhra Pradesh High Court, but it refused to entertain his plea and asked him to approach the sessions court. Raju then approached the Supreme Court, which directed the medical examination after taking note of the magistrate’s report of injuries on Raju’s body and the heart surgery he underwent last year.
Rohatgi had said then that Raju had never called for arms to be taken up or incited violence, a requirement for sedition charges. “The accused had applied for cancellation of bail granted to the Chief Minister [Jagan Mohan Reddy],” Raju’s counsel said.
The MP from Narsapuram was booked under sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 505 (incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence) read with 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
The arrest came days after Raju approached a special Central Bureau of Investigation court to cancel the bail granted to Reddy in a 2012 disproportionate assets case. The case against Reddy was about allegations of criminal conspiracy following which the Enforcement Directorate had attached the chief minister’s property worth nearly Rs 2,500 crore in 2016. The ED’s investigation had shown that several investments were made in his company after his father YS Rajashekara Reddy was made chief minister in 2004.