The 81-year-old poet will avail treatment at Nanavati Hospital for two weeks.

File photo of Varavara Rao before being taken into custodyFile photo/PTI
news Court Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 12:09

Poet-activist Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, has been shifted from Taloja jail in Raigad district to Mumbai's Nanavati Hospital, following a directive by the Bombay High Court, a jail official said on Thursday. The 81-year-old was shifted to the private hospital late Wednesday night, the official said. 

The High Court on Wednesday directed the authorities to shift the 81-year-old poet from jail to Nanavati Hospital for 15 days, noting that Rao was almost on his deathbed. “He needs some treatment,” the bench of Justices S S Shinde and Madhav Jamdar had said. “Can the state say no we will treat him in Taloja? We are only saying transfer him to Nanavati for two weeks. We will further see after two weeks,” they had noted.

They added that Rao should not be discharged from the hospital without informing the court, and that his family should be allowed to meet him at the hospital. “It goes without saying that the state will bear the expenses (of his hospital stay),” the bench had added. 

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh appearing for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had opposed Rao being moved to Nanavati Hospital, which is private, and instead said he should be shifted to JJ Hospital, a government facility. He said that there are several prisoners in jail who are not doing well, and shifting Rao would “set a bad precedent.” However, the bench said that JJ Hospital was already under “pressure”. 

Advocate Indira Jaising, representing Rao had said that there is a reasonable apprehension that Rao will die in custody. “Death is inevitable. But everyone wants to exit in a dignified manner,” Jaising had said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Jaising had submitted that Rao suffers from dementia and a urinary tract infection. And despite his condition, a neurologist and a urologist did not examine the poet, she said. She had called the medical report submitted by the Nanavati Hospital doctors on Tuesday as an “eyewash”. 

The next hearing in the case is scheduled on December 3.

With PTI Inputs

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