The Bombay high court on Wednesday granted bail to two suspected Naxalites arrested by the state anti-terrorism squad (ATS) last year for allegedly trying to brainwash and recruit urban youth for the Maoist movement. Justice Abhay Thipsay granted bail to Sushama Ramteke, 28, and Jyoti Chorge, 20, on a bond of Rs. 30,000 each and one or two sureties of the same amount. To secure their presence during the trial, the judge asked Ramteke to report to Ajani police station in Nagpur city and Chorge to Dhankavadi police station in Pune every Sunday.
The ATS had arrested them, along with four others, during a raid on a Communists Party of India-Marxists hideout at Piragut in Pune in April last year. The raid came after 42-year-old Angela Sontakke, wife of CPI-M’s Maharashtra unit secretary Milind Teltumble, was arrested at a restaurant in Thane on April 25 that year. The ATS team had recovered Rs. 1.90 lakh in cash, Maoist literature, five phones, PAN cards and several SIM cards from the accused. According to ATS officials, Sontakke had formed a new committee — the Western Region Area Committee — for operations in parts of Gujarat such Valsad and Surat which were out of purview of the Golden Corridor Committee, which reportedly works in naxalite-affected areas of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.
According to the ATS, Sontakke had joined a local social group in Pune and had formed two cells of young members to lure youth towards naxalism by approaching colleges in urban areas, and Ramteke and Chorge were members of the teams. A few days after their arrest, Ramteke and Chorge had filed bail applications claiming the ATS had no evidence against them, but the fast track court in Sewri rejected their bail pleas noting that the material gathered by ATS suggested they were active members of the naxal group.