Prof Roop Rekha Verma, former Vice-Vhancellor of the Lucknow University (LU), has volunteered to stand as surety to fulfil the court conditions for Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan following the bail granted by the Supreme Court in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) case.
Even after 10 days, no one from Uttar Pradesh had come forward to stand surety for Kerala scribe.
On September 9, the Supreme Court had granted bail to Kappan while underscoring that “every citizen has the right to free expression”.
Kappan who was arrested on his way to Hathras in September 2020 to report on the incident of the gang-rape and death of a Dalit girl, has been in jail for nearly two years.
However, he will still not walk free as on Monday, the sessions court in Lucknow rejected his bail plea in another case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) lodged against him by the ED.
Prof Verma said: “I am not completely aware of the details of Kappan’s case, but it looks that opening mouth is a serious crime. He was heading to cover a crime incident in Hathras, but the scribe is arrested and suddenly serious offences Acts and sections such as UAPA, money laundering are slapped on him. Further, he becomes suspected of having links with notorious outfits.
“Such back-to-back developments to tighten the noose create doubts in citizens like me, and it seems that action against Kappan is motivated.
“I may be proven wrong if Kappan is indeed found guilty by court, but still at this moment, his right to bail cannot be suppressed.”
Verma is also one of the three petitioners challenging the premature release of the 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano case.