MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Friday directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Maharashtra government to inform what social distancing measures were in place at Byculla women’s jail where activist Sudha Bhardwaj is an inmate.
The NIA is opposing a plea for interim bail filed by Bhardwaj, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, saying that she is not entitled to any relief even on medical grounds during the Covid-19 pandemic. Arrested in August 2018, Bhardwaj had moved the HC last against a rejection by the NIA court on May 29.
She sought bail citing her medical conditions. Her case is that given her age too, she is extremely susceptible to Covid-19 infection in jail where social distancing is not possible.
Her plea on medical grounds “is merely a ruse to obtain an order of interim relief which is not available to her otherwise on merits of the case,” said the NIA in its reply.
Bhardwaj in her plea said the evidence available against her was not admissible and lacked evidentiary value. But the NIA said that the HC and even the apex court had found that the accusations against her and co-accused for offences under the Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act “is prima facie true’’ and the special law places a strict bar on bail.

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