The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the Bhima Koregaon violence told the Bombay High Court that ailing revolutionary poet Varavara Rao, was trying to take "undue benefit of the situation" in seeking bail "under the garb" of COVID-19 and his old age.
81-year-old Varavara Rao, an accused in the case, is presently availing treatment in Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai, after he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Rao’s lawyer Sudeep Pasbola had on Monday told a Bench comprising Justices SS Shinde and SP Tavade that the poet was “almost on his deathbed” and requested that he should be with his family members, if he were to die.
However, opposing his bail, NIA Superintendent of Police, Vikram Khalate, in a 170-page affidavit wrote, “Varavara Rao under the garb of the current situation on account of global pandemic COVID-19 and his old age, is trying to take an undue benefit in the aforesaid situation in seeking bail on the grounds mentioned in his application,” LiveLaw.in reported.
Citing the medical report issued by the Superintendent of JJ Hospital, when Rao was admitted there on May 28 after reportedly collapsing in the jail, Khalate in his affidavit said that the medical report does not suggest that Rao is suffering from any ailment which required treatment in a multi-speciality hospital.
The NIA said that Rao was discharged on June 1, after he was found “asymptomatic and hemodynamically” stable.
“It is clear that the pleading with regard to the medical condition of the petitioner is merely as a ruse to obtain an interim relief which is not available to the petitioner otherwise on the merits of the case,” the NIA said.
The NIA said that Rao is a senior member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and was in the process of creating large-scale violence to destabilise the government.
“Cogent evidence has come on record that Mr Rao is a senior member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and is not only involved in planning and preparing violence but was in the process of creating large scale violence, destruction of property resulting into chaos in the society and thereby destabilising the government established by law to fulfil the objectives of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) a ban organisation which is listed in the First Schedule of the UAPA,” The Hindu quoted the affidavit as saying.
The central agency also denied the claims of Varavara Rao’s family that they were not informed about Rao’s head injury. They said that the NIA informed the Hyderabad police about it the next day.
During Monday’s hearing, Rao’s lawyer sought bail for the ailing poet and said, "His days are numbered and if he is to die, at least let him die in the presence of his family members."