A Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court of Justice Vinay Joshi and Justice Valmiki Sa Menezes has denied bail to Advocate Surendra Gadling in the 2016 Surajgarh Arson case and observed that there were grounds to believe that he had ties with the Communist Party of India (Maoists) (CPIM).

Surendra Gadling is also an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case.

Advocate Firdos T Mirza appeared for the Appellant while Advocate Neeraj B Jawade was the Special Public Prosecutor for the Respondent-State.

In 2016, Maoists set around 39 vehicles transporting iron ore on fire. Subsequently, an FIR was registered for offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and the Arms Act. Activist and Advocate Surendra Gadling was among those who were implicated.

He had approached the Sessions Court seeking bail and approached the High Court when the same was rejected.

On hearing the parties, the Court applied the ratio of the various judgments cited, referred to the material on record and the chargesheet, and concluded that "there is reasonable ground for believing the accusations of the National Investigation Agency against the Appellant having been part of a conspiracy and abetting the commission of terrorist acts, as also having direct membership of the banned organization Communist Party of India (Maoist) are prima facie to be true."

The Court also observed that there was material on record that would prima facie lead to the conclusion that the threat posed to the public and the seriousness of the entire conspiracy alleged against the Appellant would far outweigh the other considerations put forth by the Appellant, namely that he is a prominent Advocate with a long unblemished record at the bar, that he is the sole breadwinner of his family or that he has not been involved in any earlier crime.

Upholding the order of the Sessions Judge, the Court observed that "the learned Sessions Judge, whilst passing the impugned order, has referred to the relevant provisions of the UAP Act, and considered the application of the accused Surendra Gadling on the anvil of the provisions of Section 43-D (5) of the UAP Act. The learned Sessions Judge has also extensively considered the material on record and has, after applying the principles of law laid down in the various judgments of the Supreme Court on considerations for grant of bail in view of the provisions Section 43-D (5) of the UAP Act, correctly arrived at the conclusion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations made against the Appellant in the charge-sheet are true. We find no reason to arrive at a conclusion different from the one taken by the Sessions Court, whilst rejecting the Appellant’s bail application."

Consequently, the bail application was rejected.

Cause Title: Adv. Surendra Gadling v. State of Maharashtra

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