Freedom for Arun Ferreira after court grants him bail


 

Four years after his arrest, alleged Naxal leader walks out of Nagpur’s Central Prison

Mumbai Mirror BureauImage

A day after he moved the Bombay High Court alleging police bias and violation of his fundamental rights, alleged Naxal leader Arun Ferreira walked out of the Central Prison in Nagpur after being granted bail by a court.

On May 7, 2007, Mumbai-based Ferreira, along with Mahesh alias Murli Satyareddy, Davendra Bhurle and Naresh Bansod, was arrested by Crime Branch on charges of involvement in Maoist activities. He was in the Nagpur jail since then.

Ferreira tasted freedom briefly in September 2011 when he was acquitted of charges levelled against him during the 2007 arrest, and released from jail. But as soon as he walked out of prison, he was re-arrested in an old case related to Naxal violence.

In his petition, Ferreira demanded the state apologise for denying him his rights and compensate him with Rs 25 lakh for mental agony and financial loss that illegal police action caused him and his family.

Ferriera’s lawyer Surendra Gadling told HC that his client approached the court to ‘ensure a fair, just and speedy trial and to initiate proceedings against police and jail personnel for their criminal acts’.

Cops abducted me: Ferrira

The petition said that on the day of Ferriera’s release, Dhantoli police officers abducted him. The next day he was shown as arrested by Purada police in an earlier case in which he had been declared as absconding.

Gadling told Mumbai Mirror, “Even the court observed that when Ferriera had been in jail, the police’s sudden decision to arrest him looked suspicious and showed an inordinate delay on their part. We told court that police deliberately declared Ferriera an absconder to prolong his incarceration. This is infringement of basic fundamental rights.”

HC was told that Ferriera antagonised jail officers when he went on hunger strike to demand rights of an undertrial following which police tried to book him for suicide.  The attempt fell through in court.

‘Cops fabricated cases’

Citing evidence of fabrication of cases against his client, Gadling demanded that the court declare that the state and the police “have violated the petitioner’s fundamental rights of liberty, speedy trial and freedom of movement guaranteed by the Constitution of India.” It also asks for quashing of all cases pending and/or convictions against the petitioner in the various courts of the state.

Ferriera also demanded a judicial probe by a retired HC judge or a sitting Sessions Court judge into the practice of abduction from prison and re-arrest immediately after release. It has also asked that pending the petition police may be restrained from taking any action against Ferriera without HC’s consent.

After going through the submissions, HC sent notices to Addl Chief Secretary (Home), SP (Gadchiroli) and SP (Nagpur Central Jail).

Framed or Naxal?

Ferriera and three others were arrested in Nagpur in 2007 for allegedly carrying out clandestine operations for the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). In December 2009, the four were acquitted in one of the cases against them as the prosecution failed to prove that they were Naxalites or involved in any unlawful activities. While in jail, Ferriera attained a PG diploma, through corresponde0nce, from the Indian Institute of Human Rights, Delhi.

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