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SC to hear Soni Sori, Kodopi’s bail plea today

SUVOJIT BAGCHI, Sep 30, 2013 , The Hindu

A file picture of tribal schoolteacher Soni Sori.
The HinduA file picture of tribal schoolteacher Soni Sori.

The hearing of the petition of tribal schoolteacher and her relative, journalist Lingaram Kodopi, will begin in the Supreme Court on Monday. Bench consisting of Justice S.S. Nirjar will preside over the bail hearing. The bail application was filed two weeks back by Ms. Sori’s lawyer Colin Gonsalves. Lawyer Prashant Bhusan filed the application of Lingaram Kodopi.

While Ms. Sori and Mr. Kodopi either got bail or acquittal in most of the cases, both were denied bail by the Chattisgarh courts. Rejecting the bail petition in Chattisgarh High Court, a couple of months back, Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra said that “on basis of the seriousness of the evidence” the petition had been rejected. Finally, the bail application was filed in the earlier this month.

Ms. Sori has been acquitted in six of the eight cases in the last one and half years, while Mr. Kodopi has been acquitted in the only other case of planning an attack on local Congress leader Avdesh Gautam.

The remaining case is the one of Essar Steel, where both Ms. Sori and Mr. Kodopi have been accused of arranging “protection money” on behalf of the company to Maoists. The main accused, D.V.C.S Verma, General Manager at an Essar steel plant, and B.K. Lala, an Essar contractor, were arrested for allegedly disbursing the money.

Both Mr. Verma and Mr. Lala got bail within the first few months of their arrest.

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