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Bombay High Court Extends Varavara Rao's Time to Surrender Till Dec 2, Orders Medical Examination

19 Nov 2021 8:34 AM GMT
Varavara Rao

The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad accused P Varavara Rao to be examined at Nanavati Hospital after his counsels said his health had once again deteriorated.

Justices Nitin Jamdar and Sarang Kotwal were hearing Rao's application to extend the six months medical bail granted to him on February 22, 2021 and allow him to return home to Hyderabad. Rao cited his delicate health and the high cost of living in Mumbai while on bail.

The court observed that it could not modify bail conditions imposed by the previous bench, therefore, a new substantive petition would be required regarding his prayer to reside in Hyderabad. In the interim, the bench extended Rao's time to surrender till December 2.

On Monday, Senior Advocate Anand Grover for Rao submitted that the octogenarian underwent a laparoscopic surgery and was admitted in a private hospital between November 6-16, and therefore can definitely not be sent back to prison.

Special Public Prosecutor Sandesh Patil for NIA said the agency was disputing the medical reports and sought for Rao to be examined by doctors at the state-run Sir JJ Group of Hospitals. Grover objected an examination at JJ Hospital.

The bench then observed that since Rao was earlier treated at Nanavati Hospital, he should be re-examined by doctors there and report should be submitted to the court by the next date of hearing i.e., November 29.

Following an objection by SPP Patil, court further said that Rao's prayer seeking to reside in Hyderabad would have to be filed through a separate petition. "It has to be a fresh petition, a substantive petition. We can't modify the order of that bench," Justice Jamdar said.

In his application Rao said he is still ailing and hasn't flouted a single bail condition; therefore, he was deserving of the reliefs sought. Moreover, residing with his 72-year-old wife in Mumbai, away from home, is difficult and unaffordable, he has said.

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 National Investigation Agency (NIA) opposed Rao's plea. The agency claimed that Rao's medical reports don't disclose a "major ailment" which necessitates the extension of bail or requires him to reside at his home in Hyderabad.

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 inflammatory speeches at the event contributed to the caste violence at Bhima Koregaon the following day, the agency alleged.

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.

Case Title: Dr P Varavara Rao vs NIA

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