Taking cue from fugitive Vijay Mallya, ‘social activist’ Sudha Bharadwaj seeks spruced jail facilities

Intimating the court about her illnesses, the lawyer sought proper food, medication and other care for Bharadwaj.

A special court sent activists Sudha Bharadwaj, one of the five accused in relation to the Bhima Koregaon violence, into the custody of Pune police till November 6. Soon after, Bharadwaj’s lawyer in her submission before the court demanded that Sudha Bharadwaj is given the same facilities in the court which the government had promised to provide to fugitive Vijay Mallya, the liquor baron wanted in a Rs 9,000 crores loan default case.

Intimating the court about her illnesses, the lawyer sought proper food, medication and other care for Bharadwaj. The lawyer claimed that Bharadwaj should be provided with “conditions of incarceration, bathing and toilet facilities which are on par with those that have been promised to be provided to Vijay Mallya by the state and central government”.

Fugitive Vijay Mallya, currently in London, has been resisting extradition and possible lodging in the Arthur Road jail citing poor conditions of prisons in the country. The CBI resolute in bringing back Vijay Mallya to India, and predisposed to make any acclimations in the process, had made a submission before the London court, giving details of the facilities that were available to prisoners in India.

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Bharadwaj was arrested from Gurgaon and brought to the city on Friday evening after the city court had rejected her bail application on Friday. Earlier in the day, the two other activists, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, arrested along with Bharadwaj, were also sent to police custody for the same period. The two had been arrested on Friday, from Mumbai and Thane respectively, within hours of the Pune court rejecting their bail applications.

Bharadwaj argued in court that being an elderly lady and a diabetic patient she needed timely medication and a controlled diet. She urged the court to provide her with proper sanitary ware, fresh clothing, and complete privacy for changing clothes, and that, at no point of time should she be kept alone with a male police officer. She also sought bedding and chair in lock up.

The government lawyer told the court that the Faraskhana lock-up of Pune city police, where Sudha Bharadwaj would be kept was in good hygienic condition and all essential facilities would be provided to the accused. Special Judge K D Vadane, hearing the plea, allowed Bharadwaj’s requests for all medical facilities.

Ferreira and Gonsalves, the other two accused who were arrested at the same time were taken to the lock-up at Lashkar police station.

The Pune Police had conducted raids and arrested the five accused ‘Urban Naxals’ at the end of August. The arrests were in relation to the Bhima Koregaon violence alleging the accused to have links with Maoist networks.

The Supreme Court had put them under house arrest till Friday, October 26, and asked them to seek regular judicial remedy from the appropriate courts. Bharadwaj, Ferreira and Gonsalves had then moved the Pune court for bail, which was rejected on Friday. Navalakha and Varavara Rao have managed to get temporary relief from different courts.

A Hyderabad court had, on Wednesday, given Rao protection from arrest for three weeks. The high court had, however, granted protection against arrest until November 1 to activist, Gautam Navlakha, who had sought to invalidate the FIR against him by Pune police.

Earlier, the Pune police had arrested Rona Wilson, Surendra Gadling, Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut and Sudhir Dhavle in the case.


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