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Varavara Rao Medically Stable, Must Surrender: NIA Tells Bombay High Court; Complete Medical Report Summoned

Sharmeen Hakim
17 Dec 2021 12:14 PM GMT
Varavara Rao Medically Stable, Must Surrender: NIA Tells Bombay High Court; Complete Medical Report Summoned
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The National Investigating Agency (NIA) on Friday urged the Bombay High Court to direct Telugu poet accused in Bhima Koregaon case, Varavara Rao (82), to surrender before the prison officials after a private hospital opined he is "cognitively normal." However, a division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal directed the private hospital to submit Rao's complete...

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The National Investigating Agency (NIA) on Friday urged the Bombay High Court to direct Telugu poet accused in Bhima Koregaon case, Varavara Rao (82), to surrender before the prison officials after a private hospital opined he is "cognitively normal."

However, a division bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal directed the private hospital to submit Rao's complete medical examination reports and listed the matter for further consideration, on Monday.

The court was hearing Rao's application to extend the six-month medical bail granted to him on February 22, 2021. Rao cited his delicate health and the high cost of living in Mumbai while on bail.

The bench had directed Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital to conduct his complete medical examination after Rao's counsel submitted that the octogenarian is still ailing, hadn't flouted a single bail condition and was therefore entitled to the reliefs sought.

On Friday, Nanavati submitted a summary of his medical examination. The hospital said they conducted his cardiac, ENT, psychiatric, urological and neurological evaluations, and he doesn't require active management or change in medications at this point of time.

"As per his clinical evaluation, patient is cognitively normal. His headaches have resolved completely…Overall his neurological functions are normal except for mild slowness of activities and some handwriting difficulty. His memory functions are intact and he does not have any headache at present," the summary said.

It noted that Rao had complained of lack of sleep and slight exhaustion. However, the cardiologist found his blood pressure on a slightly higher side.

"The remaining clinical examination reveals no significant abnormalities. The patient wears abdominal belt, because he underwent a recent hernia repair for which he is in regular follow up with surgeon at some other hospital," it said.

Based on the report, Special Public Prosecutor Sandesh Patil urged the court to direct Rao to be sent back to prison.

However, Senior Advocate Anand Grover for Rao took strong objection. He said that it was settled position of law that reports and reasons backed the summary.

Moreover, he said he wanted to file a short affidavit once the reports were submitted.

The court then directed Nanavati Hospital to file the complete reports and adjourned the matter for Monday.

Along with his pre-existing neurological issues, Rao's plea stated that he suffers from lacunar infarcts (dead brain tissue) due to arterial blockages in the brain that deals with intelligence, memory, and visual processing area brain. He's also been recommended immediate cataract surgery in both his eyes.

The Case

The NIA has accused Rao and 14 other activists of furthering the banned CPI(Maoist)'s agenda and conspiring to overthrow the government. They are booked under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) based on letters/emails primarily retrieved from their electronic devices.

As part of a criminal conspiracy, NIA alleged that the Elgar Parishad Cultural Event was organized in Pune on December 31, 2017. The agency alleged that the inflammatory speeches at the event contributed to the caste violence at Bhima Koregaon the following day.

The accused have claimed that while most of them hadn't participated in the event or weren't named in the FIR, the electronic evidence is planted.

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