Gadchiroli (Maharashtra), March 7 (IANS) Suspended Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba and four others – who had been earlier convicted on charges of having Maoist links – were on Tuesday sentenced to undergo life imprisonment by the Sessions Court here, officials said.
The wheelchair-bound English teacher of Ram Lal Anand College in Delhi, Saibaba, 47, was arrested from the capital in May 2014 by Maharashtra’s Anti-Naxal Operations (ANO) unit.
Earlier, Saibaba, with 90 percent disability, was lodged in Nagpur jail but got bail from the Supreme Court on medical grounds in April 2016 which also exempted him from personal appearance in view of his deteriorating health.
Another convict was awarded a 10-year jail term by Additional Sessions Judge Suryakant S. Shinde.
All the accused have been convicted under the UAPA Sections 13, 18, 20, 38 and 39 pertaining to conspiracy, having links with terrorist groups and supporting the outlawed Maoists.
The others convicted are Jawaharlal Nehru University student Hem Mishra, former journalist Prashant Rahi (both nabbed in 2013), Mahesh Tirki, Pandu Narote (all sentence to life) and Vijay Tirki, who will serve a 10-year term.
The ANO said they found incriminating documents, pen drives, memory cards and CDs which contained vital information about the banned Maoist groups.
The prosecution contended that Mishra, Tirki and Narote went into the deep forests of Gadchiroli in Maharashtra to meet Narmada Akka, a top Maoist commander, who handed over Rs 500,000, which was delivered to Saibaba to propagate Maoist ideology in the urban setting.
Public Prosecutor Prashant Satgianathan produced 23 witnesses and 41 articles, including data retrieved from hard disks found at Saibaba’s residence.
Satgianathan said that in 2012, Saibaba and others had participated in a conference of the Revolutionery Democratic Front, a Maoist frontal group which is banned in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.
In his speech as deputy joint secretary, Saibaba had said that Naxalism was the only route and denounced the democratic system.
The videos of his speeches were played in the court and the prosecution said Saibaba was in contact with Maoist groups in neighbouring countries like Nepal and Sri Lanka.