The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has opposed 81-year-old PV Varavara Rao's plea to extend his medical bail, saying that his reports don't disclose a "major ailment" which necessitates the extension of bail or require him to reside at his home in Hyderabad.
The Bhima Koregaon – Elgar Parishad Case accused said he suffers from several neurological and other age-related ailments. He sought to extend medical bail granted to him on February 22, 2021 and a modification of the bail condition disallowing him from leaving Mumbai.
"..The medical reports filed by the applicant does not disclose any major ailment which necessitates him to take treatment at Hyderabad neither it forms a ground for further extension. Any modification to the condition imposed would directly destroy the basis on which the court passed the order," NIA said in their affidavit.
On Monday, a division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar adjourned the hearing in Rao's application to September 24 and extended his period of surrender till September 25.
Rao sought relief on the grounds that if he is sent back to custody, his condition will revert to what it was when he had to be admitted to JJ Hospital three times from May 2020 – till November, the HC had then directed him to be transferred to Nanavati and granted him bail.
Along with his pre-existing neurological issues, Rao said he also suffers from lacunar infarcts(dead brain tissue) due to arterial blockages in the portion of the brain that deals with intelligence, memory and visual processing area of the brain. He's also been recommended immediate cataract surgery in both his eyes.
The affidavit filed by NIA SP Vikram Khalate in the Bombay High Court states that Taloja Central Prison provides the "best medical facilities," so the Telugu poet should surrender.
Regarding Rao's cataract, NIA states that surgeries can be performed in government facilities even while he is in judicial custody,
The NIA claims that Rao's request to live at his home in Hyderabad has already been rejected when he was granted temporary bail, therefore he wasn't permitted to raise the same issue in the present application.
As for Rao's contentin that Hyderabad was financially more viable due to the heavy cost of living in Mumbai, the NIA said, they cannot expect the Hon'ble courts to pass orders as per their convenience especially when the accused has prima facie committed offence of serious nature.
"The economic hardship of living in Mumbai is not a ground to be looked at, at this juncture."
Rao had said his son-in-law is a neurosurgeon and daughter an ophthalmologist, therefore his family could support him there.
However, the NIA claimed that Rao was treated in Nanavati Hospital at the State's cost.
Moreover, his medical bail can only be extended for health reasons. However, "the medical reports filed by the applicant does not disclose any major ailment which necessitates him to take treatment at Hyderabad neither it forms a ground for further extension.
Any modification to the condition imposed would directly destroy the basis on which the court passed the order."
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: [Varavara Rao vs NIA]