The Supreme Court Friday granted bail to alleged Maoist conduit Soni Sori and her nephew Lingaram Kodopi but asked them to stay in Delhi and report to a police station once a week. Both are also barred from entering Chhattisgarh.
However, the court said that both Sori and Kodopi would be escorted to Chhattisgarh by police for one day to meet their relatives and would be brought back to Delhi the next day.
“We direct the concerned senior superintendent of police to depute some responsible police officers to escort the petitioners to their respective villages so that they can meet their families for a period of 24 hours,” said a bench of Justice S.S. Nijjar and Justice A.K. Sikri in their judgment.
“On the following day, the petitioners shall be escorted to Delhi. They shall be permitted to reside in any locality of their choice in Delhi,” said Justice Sikri speaking for the bench.
The court said that once Sori and Kodopi reach Delhi, “they are directed to report to the in-charge of the local police station once a week”.
“They shall report to the in-charge of the local police station every Sunday at 11 a.m.”
“On the basis of the aforesaid orders, both the appellants are on bail with the condition that they would not enter the state of Chhattisgarh during this period,” said the apex court.
Sori and Kodopi had challenged the Chhattisgarh High Court’s July 8, 2013 order refusing them bail.
While granting bail, the apex court noted that Sori is having medical problems as well. “There are certain circumstances, pleaded by the appellants, and if ultimately established, there may be a possibility of proving the innocence of the appellants.”
The court further noted that Sori has lost her husband and has to look after her children who are of tender ages. “Lingaram Kodopi, who is a young man of 24 years, claims to be genuinely attempting to establish himself as a good citizen in the society.”
“Taking into consideration all these circumstances cumulatively and going by the past history, as demonstrated by both the counsel for the appellants, we are of the opinion that the appellants deserve to be enlarged on bail during the pendency of trial on furnishing personal securities in the sum of Rs.50,000 with two sureties each of the like amount, to the satisfaction of the trial court,” the court said.
Kodopi and Sori were arrested on Sep 9, 2011 and Oct 4, 2011 respectively allegedly for acting as conduits for Maoists for collecting money from corporate houses.