Father Stan Swamy’s bail delayed as NIA special court postpones hearing

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Father Stan Swamy. File photo.

Father Stan Swamy, the 84-year-old Indian Catholic priest, it seems, may have to further wait for weeks to get freedom from detention. For the special court has postponed hearing his bail application for another week. The reason is, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Union government’s anti-terror agency, has asked for more time to respond.

The NIA had arrested the octogenarian, Father Stan Swamy, two months ago on charges of having links to an outlawed Maoist group.

The special court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was due to hear the application on December 4. But it postponed the hearing to December 10, saying the investigators had asked for more time to respond.

NIA court had detained Father Stan Swamy in a Mumbai jail, since his arrest on October 8 on sedition charges.

After the court rejected his bail application on health ground on October 23, the priest, suffering from Parkinson’s disease, on November 26 filed a petition seeking regular bail. The court posted the hearing for December 4 while seeking a response from the NIA.

‘Attempt to transfer Father Stan Swamy’

“The NIA, however, did not respond and sought more time to file its reply. Now it will be taken up on December 10 for hearing,” said Father Santhanam, who is closely monitoring the case.

Father Santhanam, a practicing lawyer on the Madurai bench of Tamil Nadu High Court, in southern India, said “Father Swamy has not yet got his belongings seized at the time of his arrest. And therefore he also sought direction from the court for obtaining them.”

NIA officials had seized his laptop from his residence in Ranchi, among other articles during the raid.

“Now he has sought a cloned copy of the hard disk to present his side during trial,” said Father Santhanam.

The priest has also filed another application before the same court against his transfer from his present jail without the permission of the court, Father Santhanam said.

He said there was a reported attempt to transfer him from Taloja Central Prison for unknown reasons.

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