Four days after the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court denied bail to former Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, who wanted to meet his ailing mother, she succumbed to cancer in Hyderabad on Saturday.
Saibaba who is wheelchair-bound with over 90% physical disability is currently serving time for Naxal links at the Nagpur Central Jail. His lawyer Akash Sorde stated that in the last attempt on Friday, they tried to arrange a video call of Saibaba with his 74-year-old mother named Gokarakonda Suryavathi after the doctors said the cancer patient would not survive more than 48 hours.
“We tried to contact Anupkumar Kumre, the Superintendent of the Nagpur Central Prison, where Saibaba is lodged so that his mother could see him as her last wish. But there was no response to the calls,” Sorde told Indian Express.
Saibaba’s wife Vasantha living in Delhi told the media house that Suryavathi passed away in the afternoon, and she could not be with her due to the flying restrictions. “I feel extremely saddened by the loss of the kind and caring woman and even deeply disappointed in myself that I could not fulfil her final wish,” she said.
Along with his wish to see his ailing mother, Saibaba in his bail application had cited his weak health, along with comorbidities which made him vulnerable to contract Covid-19 in jail. He also said that he was not getting proper medical treatment in prison.
Arguing on Saibaba’s bail application, the public prosecutor, Prashant Sathanathan said that Saibaba’s brother was with his mother and she lived in a Covid-19 containment zone, where Saibaba could have contracted the viral infection.
Saibaba’s lawyer Nihal Singh Rathod had argued that the Nagpur prison had recently witnessed many coronavirus cases which makes the professor vulnerable to infection. Citing Saibaba’s mother’s condition, Rathod added, “You cannot deny the mother the right to see her son when she is on a deathbed.”
However, the bench comprising Justices Atul Chandurkar and Amit Borkar denied the bail and stated, “we are not inclined to grant bail.”
In March 2017, Saibaba along with four others was convicted in a sessions court in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district for Maoist links and engaging in activities amounting to ‘waging war against the country’. Professor has now challenged the order in the Bombay High Court.