The Bombay High Court today granted bail to suspended SRPF officer Manohar Kadam in the 1997 Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar firing case and suspended the life sentence awarded to him by the sessions court.
While granting cash bail of Rs 50,000 to Kadam, a vacation bench of Justices Anand Nirgude and Rajesh Ketkar also admitted Kadam's appeal and suspended his life sentence, his lawyer Raja Thakre said.
Kadam was admitted to a hospital after the sessions court convicted him for "culpable homicide not amounting to murder" earlier this month. He was later sent to jail.
"His sentence has been suspended," Thakre said.
Kadam, then sub-inspector with the State Reserve Police Force, was held responsible by sessions court for ten deaths in police firing on Dalit mob at Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar in suburban Ghatkopar here on July 11, 1997.
The mob was protesting the desecration of statue of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar. Kadam headed the SRPF platoon that was sent to the spot.
A commission of inquiry as well as the sessions court held that firing was unwarranted.
Advocate Thakre argued before High Court that Kadam himself did not fire a single round and required sanctions were not taken before prosecuting him.
Thakre also argued that SRPF Act gave officers power to use force, at the risk of causing death, if there was apprehension of assault on himself or other person, or that of damage to any property.
However, additional public prosecutor Usha Kejariwal, opposing the bail application, had said that Kadam did not take
the plea of self-defence during the trial.
Kadam ordered firing within ten-eleven minutes of arriving on the spot without assessing the situation properly, she argued.
Advocate Sanghraj Rupwate, appearing for some of the victims of the firing, too opposed Kadam's bail plea. Rupwate had also demanded that a special prosecutor be appointed in the case.
Rupwate told reporters after today's order that he expected the State to challenge it, otherwise victims' kin would challenge it themselves before the Supreme Court.
Since the High Court pronounced only the operative part in the morning, the reasons for the grant of bail were not yet known.
Ramabai Nagar Firing Case: Manohar Kadam Gets Bail
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