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Varavara Rao.
Varavara Rao.

Bhima Koregaon case: Bombay HC grants interim bail to Varavara Rao on medical grounds

  • 81-year-old Rao was granted bail on the condition that he remains in Mumbai and available for probe whenever needed
  • The octogenarian was arrested on 28 August, 2018 and subsequently charged under the stringent UAPA along with 16 other academics and activists

The Bombay High Court on Monday granted an interim bail for a period of six months to poet-activist Varavara Rao, jailed in the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case.

The octogenarian was granted bail on the condition that he remains in Mumbai and available for probe whenever needed.

The Bombay HC has also directed that Rao be discharged from Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai, depending on his current health condition, and released on bail immediately after his discharge.

"[Varavara Rao] shall inform the details of his residence. He will attend the trial as and when he is asked to attend. He can apply for personal exemption and the court shall apply. He can make WhatsApp video calls to the nearest police station and report his presence," the court order passed by the division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale read.

The HC bench said if it did not grant Rao medical bail, it would be abdicating its duty to protect the principles of human rights and a citizen's fundamental rights to life and health.

Rao will have to submit his passport before the NIA court, and he has been forbidden to establish any contact with his co-accused in the case. He will also have to furnish a personal bond of 50,000 and two sureties of the like amount.

The revolutionary writer had earlier filed a bail application and a writ petition on medical grounds seeking he be shifted to Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai immediately, owing to his "diminishing neurological and physical health condition".

Rao had been admitted to the Nanavati Hospital by the Maharashtra government following the Bombay HC's intervention.

81-year-old Rao was arrested on 28 August, 2018, and subsequently charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) along with 16 other academics and activists. He is being probed by the National Investigation Agency and awaiting trial in the case.

The case pertains to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on 31 December, 2017, which, the cops claimed, triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.

The cops have also alleged that the Elgar Parishad conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links.

With agency inputs

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