SC refuses to stay former DU professor GN Saibaba’s acquittal in alleged Maoist links case

The Supreme Court Friday refused to stay the acquittal of former Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, who was accused of Maoist links under sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and of criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) moved the Supreme Court for stay hours after the Bombay High Court order. The apex court, however, allowed the NIA to move an application before the registry requesting for urgent listing.

Earlier in the day, the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court acquitted Saibaba, and five others by setting aside the life imprisonment sentence awarded to them in 2017 by a sessions court in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli.

A Division Bench of Justices Rohit Deo and Anil Pansare allowed Saibaba’s appeal challenging a 2017 order of the trial court in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district that convicted him and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

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Saibaba and five others — Mahesh Tirki, Pandu Narote, Hem Mishra, Prashant Rahi and Vijay Tirki — have been acquitted. While Vijay Tirki was out on bail, Narote passed away in jail last year after he was infected with swine flu. The rest of the convicts, including Saibaba, were ordered to be released from Nagpur Central jail. The family of the former professor — his services were terminated by DU’s Ram Lal Anand College in 2021 — has repeatedly demanded his release given his health condition, and as he is wheelchair-bound.