The Bombay High Court has extended Dr. Varavara Rao’s time to surrender before the NIA till September 25. This even as the court considers his plea for extension of his temporary bail, as also permission to stay in Telangana in his home.
While the National Investigating Agency (NIA) has opposed the plea, the bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar have adjourned the matter to September 24 while also extending the bail to September 25.
Rao has stated that apart from his neurological issues, he also suffers from lacunar infarcts (dead brain tissue) due to arterial blockages in the brain and has been recommended cataract surgery for his eyes.
The NIA has opposed Rao’s plea stating that the medical reports do not disclose any major ailment necessitating him to take treatment in Hyderabad, and that any modification to the earlier order will destroy the basis on which it was passed. However, it may be pointed out that the court, while granting bail in February, had noted that Rao suffered from cerebral atrophy and bouts of delirium induced by old age, and had noted that Rao would face acceleration and intensification of ailments if he continues to remain in custody and even though the Hospital had cleared him for discharge, the court had still taken the view that condition of old age, sickness, infirmity and multiple health ailments suffered by him indicate that his continued custody would be incompatible with his health conditions.
The NIA has further stated that Rao had already raised a plea to be allowed to go to Telangana while seeking bail in February and hence the same plea cannot be raised again. The NIA’s affidavit states that they cannot expect the Hon’ble court to pass orders as per their convenience especially when the accused has prima facie committed offence of serious nature.
Rao was granted temporary bail owing to his deteriorating health condition in February for a period of 6 months. In his plea he has mentioned that it is very difficult for him staying with his 72-year-old wife in Mumbai, away from his home, as the same is unaffordable in terms of living expenses and health services.
It is pertinent to note that out of all the accused in Bhima Koregaon case, Rao is the only one who has been granted such temporary bail, while others continue to languish in prison. Fr. Stan Swamy who was 84 years of age, died on July 5 in his many attempts to seek freedom from jail.
In February, the Bombay High Court had granted medical bail to Rao owing to his deteriorating health in the past one year, and while also taking into consideration his advanced age.
He was admitted to the hospital multiple times due to various reasons including contracting Covid-19 and some infections, and he was finally granted bail after the court took a humanitarian view towards his condition.