NEW DELHI – The Allahabad High Court on Thursday granted bail to student activist Atikur Rahman in connection with an alleged money laundering case related to the Hathras gangrape, in which journalist Siddique Kappan is also an accused person.
The High Court had granted Rahman bail in a separate case registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on March 15. The order on Thursday paves the way for his release after over 940 days in prison.
Rahman was arrested in October 2020 along with Kappan, taxi driver Mohammad Alam and student Masood Ahmad while they were travelling to Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras, where a Dalit woman was allegedly gang-raped and killed by four upper-caste Thakur men on September 14, 2020.
The Uttar Pradesh Police booked the four accused men under sedition charges and provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
In February 2021, the Enforcement Directorate filed a case against them under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The central agency had claimed that Rahman and three others had received money from the now-banned Popular Front of India to “incite riots”.
The High Court, in its order granting bail in the UAPA case, had said that the charges against Rahman were framed without giving him an adequate hearing, according to Live Law. A bench comprising Justices Attau Rahman Masoodi and Renu Agarwal noted that the High Court had sent the matter back to the trial court and asked it to hold fresh proceedings on the framing of charges.
The High Court had also noted that co-accused Kappan and Alam had already been granted bail in the case.
On September 9, the Supreme Court granted bail to Kappan in the UAPA case, while on December 23, the Allahabad High Court gave him bail in the money laundering case too. However, despite the bail orders, Kappan remained in jail for over a month due to bureaucratic delays. He was eventually released on February 2.