DU ex-professor Saibaba after release from jail: ‘A wonder I could come out alive’

Describing his incarceration as “brutal”, Prof Saibaba asked who will bring back his lost years to this “fabricated case“.

BySouth First Desk

Published Mar 07, 2024 | 6:53 PMUpdatedMar 07, 2024 | 9:36 PM

Gokarakonda Naga Saibaba release appeal.

Former Delhi University professor G N Saibaba, released from the Nagpur Central Jail on Thursday, 7 March, after his acquittal in the alleged Maoist links case, said it’s a “wonder that I could come out alive” despite suffering the “brutal” jail life.

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday set aside Saibaba’s and five other accused’s life sentences, noting that the prosecution had failed to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.

“There was every chance I would not have come out alive,” Saibaba told media persons.

Earlier, walking out of jail, he refused to talk to the press, saying, “My health is very bad. I can’t talk. I will have first to take medical treatment, and then only I will be able to speak.”

The former DU professor, who depends on a wheelchair for mobility, said he changed his mind after requests from lawyers and reporters. Saibaba said he would be visiting doctors soon.

Recalling his eight years of incarceration, which he described as “very rigorous and brutal”, Saibaba said he had no accessibility inside the prison.

“I couldn’t pull up or move out of my wheelchair. I could not go to the toilet (on my own) or take a bath. It’s a wonder that I came out of the prison alive today,” he said, stressing that there was every chance that he could not have made it.

Also read: Saibaba, five co-accused, acquitted

Who will bring back the lost years?

The former professor also called the case against him a fabricated one.

“Today, you can see, not once but twice, that the higher judiciary confirmed this case is without facts, evidence and any legally viable matter. Why has it drawn so long? Ten years of my life and my co-accused’s life. Who will bring them back?”

A family member was waiting for Saibaba outside the jail when he came out in the morning.

Saibaba has been lodged in jail here since 2017 after being convicted by a trial court in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli district. Before that, he was in prison from 2014 to 2016 and was subsequently granted bail.

On Tuesday, the HC overturned Saibaba’s sentence, terming the sanction for prosecution granted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) as “null and void.”

The court said the sanction given under UAPA by the state authority was without application of mind. The report submitted by the independent authority recommending invocation of UAPA provisions in the case was “cryptic and a laconic half-page communication.”

The bench also noted that the seizure of some pamphlets and electronic data from the accused merely demonstrated that they were sympathisers of the Maoist philosophy.

In March 2017, a sessions court in Gadchiroli convicted Saibaba and five others, including a journalist and a Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student, for alleged Maoist links and for indulging in activities amounting to waging war against the country.

(With PTI inputs)