GN Saibaba
GN Saibaba awarded life imprisonment over alleged Maoist links.Twitter

The Gadchiroli court on Tuesday convicted Delhi University professor GN Saibaba and five others over Maoist links and plotting against India. All of them have been convicted under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Five of them, including Saibaba, have been awarded life imprisonment while one has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Five others, who have been convicted under UAPA Act along with Saibaba include Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Hem Mishra, former journalist Prashant Rahi, Mahesh Tirki, Pandu Narote and Vijay Tirke. All five have been convicted under sections 13, 18, 20, 38 and 39 of UAPA Act.

Special Public Prosecutor Prashant Sathianathan demanded that the accused be awarded a life term under section 20 of UAPA Act, the Indian Express reported. Sathianathan also said that Saibaba, who is physically handicapped, should not be given any reprieve since his physical condition did not prove to be an obstacle when he aided, organised and facilitated violent activities claiming several lives. The defence lawyer did not counter the prosecution lawyer's argument saying "we are prepared for everything."

Confessions by Mahesh Tirki and Narote were produced by the prosecution. The statements said that both of them acted like couriers for several people on behalf of Narmadakka, leader and the only female member of the Central Committee of the Maoists.

The evidence consisted of detection of "original authorship" of letters written by Saibaba along with an alias called Prakash when he was the joint secretary of Naxal front organisation Revolutionary Democratic Front. It also consisted of videos in which he is heard saying "Naxalbari is the only way."

Meanwhile, the defence lawyer argued that the state police could not have investigated into the matter since it was under the purview of the National Investigative Agency (NIA) and that the electronic device had been tampered with. The defence lawyer also said that the seizures were not sealed and that the witnesses were tutored.

The Gadchiroli Police had arrested Saibaba, a professor of English in Delhi University, from his official residence in the university in May 2014. However, he was on bail since June 2016.