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Change suspected Maoist conduit’s jail: Supreme court

The Supreme Court Friday directed the Chhattisgarh government to shift suspected Maoist conduit Soni Sori from Jagdalpur jail in Dantewada district to Raipur central jail on a plea alleging that she was under threat in her present cell. Sori was arrested in Delhi Oct 4 by Delhi Police.

An apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S.S. Nijjar directed the shifting of Sori on the plea from her senior counsel Colin Gonsalves that she was under threat there.

The senior counsel told the court that Sori had undergone sufferings at the hands of police in Jagdalpur and there were concerns about her well being.

The court asked the government to file its reply to the petition by Sori.

The direction to shift Sori to Raipur jail came during the hearing on her petition seeking transfer of investigation into her case to a special investigation team (SIT) and shifting of the trial to a court outside Chhattisgarh.

Gonsalves referred to the medical report by a Kolkata hospital indicating alleged torture.

The tribal teacher is accused of receiving “protection money” from the Essar group on behalf of the Maoists. The company has denied funding the rebels.

Soni was taken from Delhi to Raipur by Chhattisgarh police Oct 7. On Oct 8, a court remanded her to police custody and now she is in judicial custody.

Appearing for the Chhattisgarh government, counsel Atul Jha told the court that the entire petition was manufactured and manipulated and was a ploy to derail and divert the attention from the main case.

Jha told the court that from the time when she was taken to Chhattisgarh from Delhi till Oct 26, when a medical examination was carried on her in Kolkata, there was no allegation that foreign bodies were inserted in her private parts during police custody.

The affidavit filed by the state government said that in none of the judicial proceedings either at Raipur or before the apex court, this allegation was ever made.

The case would be heard next in January.

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