Bombay High Court acquits former DU professor G.N. Saibaba in Maoist links case

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A 90% physically disabled, wheelchair bound convict, Prof. G.N. Saibaba has been acquitted by the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court on October 14, 2022.

A division Bench of justices Rohit Deo and Anil Pansare acquitted accused Mahesh Tirki, Pandu Pora Narote, Hem Keshwdatta Mishra, Prashant Rahi, Vijay Nan Tirki and G.N. Saibaba. Pandu Narote, 33, also lodged at Nagpur Central Jail died on August 26 due to swine flu.

The 101 judgment holds the sessions court order of conviction null and void and set it aside in the absence of valid sanction under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

“The Siren Song that the end justifies the means, and the procedural safeguards are subservient to the overwhelming need to ensure that the accused is prosecuted and punished, must be muzzled by the voice of Rule of Law. Any aberration shall only be counter productive, since empirical evidence suggests that departure from the due process of law fosters an ecosystem in which terrorism burgeons and provides fodder to vested interests whose singular agenda is to propagate false narrative,” the judgment mentions.

On March 7, 2017, the Sessions Court at Gadchiroli sentenced Professor Saibaba to life imprisonment for his alleged links with the banned organisation Communist Party of India (Maoist) under the UAPA. His appeal against the judgment was pending before the High Court for the last five years.

Saibaba’s left hand is on the verge of failure and there is acute pain spreading in both his hands. He is plagued by pancreatitis, high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, chronic back pain, immobility, and sleeplessness.

Gokalkonda Naga Saibaba, 47, was arrested on February 16, 2014. Sanctioning authority K. P. Bakshi accorded sanction to prosecute was given on April 6, 2015. The sessions court framed charges against all the six accused on February 21, 2015.

He got polio at the age of five but was still able to get the district first position in the tenth grade. Until 2008, he did not have a wheelchair and used to move by covering his palms with chappals and crawl. He completed his Masters in Arts from Hyderabad and joined Central Institute of English and Foreign Language to pursue Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching English in 1991. He was arrested on May 9, 2014 when he was working as a permanent faculty as Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Ram Lal Anand College, affiliated with Delhi University and was terminated in 2021.

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