Bombay HC extends Varavara Rao's medical bail till January 7

The National Investigation Agency had opposed the extension, saying that ‘there are other old people in jail’ who are ‘treated when needed’.
File image of Varavara Rao
File image of Varavara Rao
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The Bombay High Court on Tuesday, December 21, extended the medical bail granted to Telugu poet and activist Varavara Rao, accused in the Elgar Parishad case, until January 7, 2022. The 83-year-old was granted temporary medical bail for six months in February 2021 by the Bombay HC, which was extended multiple times. The latest extension in the bail was granted after a medical report from the Nanavati Hospital, a private medical facility, on Rao’s health condition was submitted to the court. The HC also asked Rao’s counsel to file a short affidavit in response to the same by December 30.

On Monday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the Elgar Parishad case, appealed to the High Court not to extend Rao’s bail. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, who appeared for the NIA, told the HC that on December 17, a panel of expert doctors from the Nanavati Hospital submitted a one-page document stating that Rao had been examined thoroughly, his vital parameters were stable, and he did not need continued medical treatment or hospitalisation. "We are not experts to examine or analyse Nanavati Hospital's opinion. Once it says that he (Rao) is fit for discharge, then there is no question of any further extension," Singh told the HC, "In jail, there are other old people who need medical treatment. They are treated when needed. Let him (Rao) surrender. His age can't be a ground for extension," Singh said.

However, Varavara Rao’s counsel Anand Grover told the bench that though the NIA had submitted Nanavati Hospital's opinion on Rao's medical condition, and his medical reports, he must be permitted to file an affidavit to inform the court whether or not Rao was in a position to be sent back to the prison.

He said in February this year, the bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale had granted medical bail to Rao, despite a similar opinion from the Nanavati Hospital. "In my original application, Nanavati Hospital had given a similar conclusion. The hospital had said at the time that I (Rao) didn't need indoor hospital treatment and could be discharged from the hospital," Grover said. But, the HC bench (of Justices Shinde and Pitale) had granted bail observing that Rao's condition was "not compatible for being sent to judicial custody", he said. 

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