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Religious conversion case: SC gives interim bail to UP's SHUATS university VC

The Uttar Pradesh police had earlier told the apex court that Lal and other accused are the 'main perpetrators' of a mass religious conversion programme which involves foreign funds from about 20 countries.
Last Updated 04 March 2024, 07:42 IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday granted interim bail to Rajendra Bihari Lal, vice chancellor of Uttar Pradesh's Sam Higginbottom University of Agriculture, Technology and Sciences (SHUATS), in a case of alleged illegal religious conversion.

A bench of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra issued notice to the UP government on his plea challenging the Allahabad High Court.

The top court noted that the high court is not hearing the bail plea filed by Lal who has been in custody since December 31 last year.

"Issue notice, in the meantime, by way of ad interim order, we grant interim bail to the petitioner," the bench said while adding that the quantum of bail bond shall not exceed Rs 25,000.

Senior advocate Siddharth Dave, appearing for Lal, submitted that the petitioner was arrested despite the apex court's order.

The Uttar Pradesh police had earlier told the apex court that Lal and other accused are the “main perpetrators” of a mass religious conversion programme which involves foreign funds from about 20 countries.

The police had said Vinod Bihari Lal, among the other accused in the case, was actually a “notorious criminal” involved in 38 cases of various natures, including cheating and murder, across the state in the last two decades.

An FIR was registered under provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act against Lal and others.

It was alleged in the police complaint that about 90 Hindus congregated at the Evangelical Church of India in Hariharganj, Fatehpur, for the purpose of their conversion to Christianity and were put under undue influence, coercion, and lured through fraud and the promise of easy money.

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(Published 04 March 2024, 07:42 IST)

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