They were detained on the borders of Chattisgarh and TS on Dec. 26, 2016
Seven activists of the Telangana Development Forum (TDF) who were arrested in December last year in Chattisgarh were granted bail by the Chattisgarh High Court on Friday.
They were likely to be released on Saturday on completion of formalities like furnishing sureties and other documents, Telangana Civil Liberties Committee vice-president V. Raghunath said.
A practising lawyer at Hyderabad High Court, Mr. Raghunath had earlier moved bail petition for the seven arrested TDF activists in Dantewada distrct court.
But the bail petition was dismissed then.
The single-judge bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri granted bail to them, delivering its ruling on their bail plea, reserved on June 22, said defence counsel Amarnath Pandey.
According to the prosecution, the seven members of Telangana-based civil society TDF, including two advocates Ch Prabhakar and Bala Ravinder; four social activists Rajendra Prasad, R Lakshmaraiah, B Durgaprasad and D Prabhakar and a research scholar Mohamed Nazeer were held from Dharampenta village under Kistaram police station in Sukma district on December 25, 2016.
They were booked under the provisions of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act for their alleged Maoist links and produced in a local court of Sukma region which had remanded them in judicial custody, he added.
During the hearing on their bail plea by the high court bench at Bilaspur on June 22, the petitioners’ lawyers, Pandey and Kishore Narayan, argued that all sevens activists were in Bhadrachalam area (Telangana) for some “fact-finding” purpose when they were held by Bhadrachalam police.
They were later handed over to Sukma police and implicated in a false case under the public security act, the lawyers argued.
The defence counsel sought bail arguing that the maximum punishment under public security act is three years while the petitioners were behind bars for past six months without being convicted of any crime.
After hearing the arguments, the high court had reserved its order.
The arrested TDF activists — D. Prabhakar, Ch. Prabhakar, B. Ravindranath, B. Durga Prasad, Nazir, Raghavendra and Laxmaiah — were members of a fact-finding committee probing alleged encounters in Chattisgarh and death of persons belonging to Scheduled Tribes there.
They were detained on the borders of Chattisgarh and Telangana on December 26, 2016.
“Actually, Telangana police detained these seven persons but handed over them to their Chattisgarh counterparts,” the lawyer said.
Since then, bail petitions had been moved at different courts. Finally, the High Court at Bilaspur granted bail to them.
Even as the arrested persons were in the prison, trial of the case had begun.
A case under Chattisgarh Special Public Security Act was registered against them.
The accused were to appear before the court on July 5 for the trial.