Journalist Siddique Kappan was produced before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Lucknow today but, with stringent bail conditions – to get two local residents to stand surety persons with a cash bond of Rs One Lakh each – he went back to jail, while his lawyers and family tried to arrange for bail.
A separate application, to expedite bail before the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in Lucknow, will be heard tomorrow.
Adv Danish, who has been part of the legal team for Kappan told FSC that he pleaded with the NIA court judge Aniruddh Mishra, about the amount of money fixed and said that Kappan did not know anyone in Uttar Pradesh so finding a local resident to stand surety would be very difficult. “I don’t know what further conditions will be imposed in the PMLA matter,” he said.
Last week, a bench comprising Chief Justice of India UU Lalit and Justice Ravindra Bhat granted bail to Kappan, arrested on Oct 5, 2020 when he was travelling to Hathras to cover the heinous gangrape and murder of a young Dalit woman. Kappan and his travelling companions, Atiq-ur Rehman, Masood Ahmed and the cab driver Mohammed Alam, were charged with a criminal conspiracy to breach the peace under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including sedition, promoting enmity between communities etc.
Later, charges under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), accusing them of getting money from the Popular Front of India, were also slapped on them. Uttar Pradesh police accused four others of the conspiracy subsequently. They are all still in jail.
Meanwhile, the cab driver, Alam, who was granted bail by the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court, also continues to remain in jail because of the PMLA charges against him. On Aug 23, 2022, Justices Ramesh Sinha and Saroj Yadav had granted bail to him because they found no complicity and involvement of “the appellant with the terrorist activities or any other activity against the nation”.
He was first of the eight to get bail.
Last week, the health of Atiq-ur-Rehman, former Campus Front of India office bearer, deteriorated further and his family expressed fears about his health as he had a heart condition.