Malegaon blast accused can contest, not campaign

High Court denies Ramesh Upadhyay parole to campaign or address voters through DVDs

The Bombay High Court has declined to allow Major (retd) Ramesh Upadhyay, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts case, to leave prison on parole and go campaigning for himself in Uttar Pradesh. Upadhyay was last month allowed by a MCOCA court to contest the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections from two seats. He is currently lodged in Taloja jail.

As per Upadhyay's application, which was heard and rejected by a bench of justices VM Kanade and PD Kode yesterday, he prayed for 10 days' parole from judicial custody in order to travel to his constituencies, under police escort, and campaign for himself for the elections slated to begin at the end of this month.

In the event of rejection, Upadhyay pleaded in the same application for the alternative of being transferred to a jail located within any of his constituencies so he could campaign between 10 am and 3 pm, again under police escort. Another option he hoped to avail of was to be allowed to make video CDs or DVDs from the prison to be able to reach out to his supporters. He has been snubbed on all counts.

The contender
The special MCOCA court Judge Y D Shinde granted permission to Upadhyay, a native of Dalan Chopra village in Bairia in Ballia, to file his nomination from jail. He is contesting from Bairia and from Meerut Sadar. He was arrested in November 2008 for his alleged involvement in the Malegaon blast on September 29, 2008, in which six persons were killed and more than 100 injured. He was accused of conspiring for the blast with prime accused Lt Col S P Purohit, who is also lodged in jail. While the police had arrested 12 persons in all, the Bombay High Court granted bail to three of them last year.

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