A bench comprising Justices Vineet Saran and B.R. Gavai, citing the Army Hospital medical report, said that Raju was ill-treated in police custody. “We are of the opinion that charges against the petitioner are not such where custodial interrogation is required,” it noted.
“Considering the totality of the plea and the health condition of the petitioner since he has undergone open heart surgery, we deem it fit that petitioner be enlarged on bail,” it added.
While granting bail, the top court also directed Raju to cooperate with the investigation and present himself when called upon by the investigation officer. He has also been prohibited from giving any interview to the print or visual media on anything connected with the case.
“Please ask the petitioner to not display injuries to the press, else it will be an obstruction of justice. We will take serious view of the same,” the bench said.
On May 17, the top court had directed Raju’s medical examination should be conducted at Army Hospital, Secunderabad, and stated that his bail plea would be heard on May 21.
The Army Hospital, in its report, had informed the top court that Raju had a fractured toe and swellings from blunt injuries.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Raju, contended that this indicated his client was tortured by CID police in Andhra Pradesh.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, representing the Andhra Pradesh government, however, submitted thar there is a possibility that these are self-inflicted injuries. He added that the medical report was inconclusive and does not prove any injury in the police custody.
On the aspect of sedition case registered against Raju, Dave argued: “He (Raju) did not restrict himself to fair criticism of the government but tried to stoke hatred among two communities. This caused public disharmony.”
He also cited the Akhil Gogoi and Siddique Kappan cases, where the court had declined to refused to grant interim bail.
Raju is required to furnish a bond of Rs 1 lakh and two sureties of the same amount before the trial court within 10 days. The top court has also directed Raju not to tamper with any evidence or witness.
In his appeal before the top court, Raju had contended that High Court did not consider any of the grounds for bail.