In a fresh medical report submitted before the Bombay High Court on Thursday by the jail authorities at Byculla District Jail, it has been submitted that advocate and activist Sudha Bharadwaj, who is seeking bail on medical grounds, is suffering from ischemic disease which leads to reduced supply of blood in the body.
Although, the division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice SP Tavade could not hear Bharadwaj's plea today as the matter did not reach but the fresh medical report was submitted by jail authorities.
In the previous hearing on Monday after concluding that the medical report submitted by the Jail Superintendent was 'illegible', the Court had asked the authorities to submit a fresh report. On July 10, Court had directed the authorities to submit a report regarding prevailing conditions in the said prison.
The 58-year-old Bharadwaj, who is booked for various offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and accused in inciting caste based violence that took place on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon, is currently lodged in Byculla women's prison where an inmate has already tested positive for Covid-19.
Her bail application states that due to her age and pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension and a history of pulmonary tuberculosis. Bharadwaj is at a high risk of contracting coronavirus in prison, and that this infection in her present medical condition would be life threatening.
Bharadwaj was arrested on August 28, 2018 from her house at Faridabad and lodged at Yerwada jail in Pune before being moved to Byculla jail.
The National Investigation Agency opposed Sudha Bharadwaj's plea and said-
"The appellant accused Sudha Bhardwaj under the garb of current situation on the account global pandemic COVID-19, is trying to take an undue benefit of the aforesaid situation in seeking bail on the grounds mentioned in her application."
Interestingly, 81-year-old Varavara Rao's petition seeking bail after testing positive for Covid-19 was opposed by the NIA with the exact same words.
A special court in Mumbai rejected the bail application on medical grounds filed by Bharadwaj on May 29.
Similar pleas filed by other accused in the case, Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Anand Teltumbde were also listed today, but did not reach.