Telugu poet Varavara Rao, accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, has approached the Bombay High Court seeking permission to travel to Hyderabad to undergo cataract surgery in both his eyes.
Justice R. G. Avachat issued notice to NIA in the plea challenging trial court’s order rejecting his request to travel to Hyderabad and stay there for three months. The matter was posted on January 16, 2023.
Thereafter he approached the Special Court for permission to travel to Hyderabad and stay for a period of 3 months. The special Court rejected his request. Hence the present criminal application.
The application contends that the Special Court should have appreciated that the applicant is 82 years old and needs to get cataract surgery for which the appropriate place is Hyderabad. According to the plea, the special Court gave two reasons for rejecting the bail – i) he can get the treatment in Mumbai and ii) arguments for discharge are going on in the main case.
The application contends that if Rao does not undergo surgery he may suffer serious repercussions including impairment of vision. He can get the treatment in Hyderabad for free as he is the pensioner of the State Government of Telangana.
The application further contends that his family members are doctors including one who is an ophthalmologist and can provide better care to him.
According to the plea, Rao’s experience with government hospitals in Mumbai has been abysmal and the private hospitals are too costly. Therefore, he cannot afford cataract operation in Mumbai and has to get it done in Hyderabad.
According to the application, till October 10, 2022, only one of the discharge applications was heard and there are 5 more discharge applications yet to be heard. After that the prosecution will also be heard. Further, the charge sheet runs into about 20,000 pages and there are several witness statements. This whole exercise will be very time consuming, the plea states.
Not only that, Rao has not filed a discharge application and has no role to play, the application states contending that rejecting permission to travel to Hyderabad on this ground is sheer abuse of process.
It would have been better to direct Rao to remain present on the date when the matter could be fixed for framing of charge, the application contends. This will take at least three more months and by then the treatment will be complete, the application states.
The application states that the Special Court has totally ignored all the above grounds and that Rao has never misused his liberty while rejecting his request to travel to Hyderabad.
Case no. – APL/1274/2022
Case Title – Dr. P. Varavara Rao v. National Investigation Agency and Anr.