Saturday, September 01, 2007

Notice to Chhattisgarh on bail plea of rights activist

Legal Correspondent

Vinayak Sen has been arrested on fabricated charges, Soli Sorabjee tells Supreme Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Chhattisgarh Government on a petition filed by Vinayak Sen, vice-president of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, challenging his arrest in May under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and seeking his release on bail.

A Bench, comprising Justices Ashok Bhan and V.S. Sirpurkar, issued notice to Chhattisgarh after hearing senior counsel Soli Sorabjee, who submitted that Dr. Sen had been arrested on fabricated charges of having links with naxalites. On the statement of a co-accused, Dr. Sen had been arrested “for acting as a carrier of letters for the naxalites.”

In his special leave petition against the Chhattisgarh High Court order dismissing his petition, Dr. Sen said he had also been charged under the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act.

He was arrested following the recovery of letters relating to the naxalite movement from the possession of Piyush Guha. The police claimed this established that Dr. Sen was acting as a courier for the underground movement.

His bail was rejected by the trial court and the High Court.

Dr. Sen submitted that he was innocent and had been falsely implicated by the police. He had been working for the welfare of the downtrodden in Chhattisgarh for the last 25 years and had set up several health centres, besides inspiring doctors from the AIIMS to join him in his mission.

As a human rights activist, he was a frequent visitor to the various jails for espousing the custodial rights of prisoners.

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