NAGPUR: Suspended Delhi University professor G N Saibaba and four others, sentenced to life terms for having links with banned Maoist outfit have moved the Bombay High Court challenging their conviction under anti-terror law UAPA.
The five have moved the Nagpur bench of the high court against their conviction under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and various other penal offences, the counsel for convicts, advocate Surendra Gadling told PTI today. "An appeal challenging the Gadchiroli sessions court order was filed in the high court on March 29. No date for hearing the appeal, however, has been fixed as yet," said Gadling.
Principal Judge Suryakant Shinde of Gadchiroli district and sessions court had delivered the verdict on March 7 after a three-year-long trial of the case. The court had sentenced a sixth convict to ten years in jail. He has also challenged the verdict. All the six convicts are currently lodged in Nagpur central jail. Besides Saibaba, the others to get life terms were Hem Mishra, Prashant Rahi, Mahesh Tirkey and Pandu Narote.
Vijay Tirki was awarded 10-year rigorous imprisonment. The judge had also imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 each on the convicts. All six were convicted under IPC section 120B (criminal conspiracy) and also five sections of the UAPA - section 13 for indulging in unlawful activities, section 18 for hatching the conspiracy, section 20 (the punishment for being member of terrorist gang or organisation), section 38 (the membership of a terrorist gang and section 39 (support to terrorist outfits.
The police had seized items like pen drives, hard discs and Naxal literature during a search at Saibaba's residence. The trial had started in November 2016. Saibaba, the wheelchair-bound professor of English, is 90 per cent disabled. The judge, while pronouncing the quantum of punishment, had said disability of Saibaba was no ground for showing leniency to him. Though he is physically handicapped, he is mentally fit and acted as a "think tank and high-profile leader" of CPI (Maoist) and RDF.