Elgar Parishad case: No NIA action till HC hears Varavara Rao's medical bail extension plea on September 6

By Express News Service

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Monday extended the interim medical bail granted to 81-year-old Telugu poet Varavara Rao, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, till September 24.

The court posted the matter for hearing on September 24 when it will decide on whether to extend the medical bail further or ask Rao to surrender. Rao is suffering from several neurological and age-related ailments. 

Rao was granted bail on February 22 for six months on a cash bond of Rs 50,000 by a Division Bench of justices S S Shinde and Manish Pitale.

The NIA opposed the extension of bail to Rao, saying his medical report does not disclose any major aliment that necessitates the extension of bail or require him to reside at his home in Hyderabad to take treatment. 

Rao has been living with his wife P Hemalatha at Malad East in Mumbai. Senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for Rao, informed the bench that Rao was living in a rented flat with his wife. He plead the court to allow him to reside in Hyderabad with his family.

The NIA, which is probing the case, filed an affidavit saying, “The Taloja jail authorities have been following the jail code and providing the best medical facilities as per the jail manual. The surgery for cataract and hernia can be done in judicial custody under the supervision of doctors of government hospitals,” the NIA said.

It however opposed an application filed by Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case accused Rona Wilson seeking temporary bail to to attend a mass organised in Kerala for his father who died last month.

The NIA told a special court here the presence of the accused for the mass was not required, adding that the final rites were already over and Wilson was simply creating a ground for his release.

Special prosecutor Prakash Shetty, appearing for the NIA, told the court there were chances of Wilson carrying out some illicit activity if released on bail, and that he may also influence witnesses.

Special NIA Judge D E Kothalikar is likely to pass an order on Wilson’s plea on Tuesday.

Wilson, who was arrested in June, 2018 and is presently lodged at the Taloja prison, sought temporary bail to go to Kerala and attend the mass.

Wilson and several other activists were initially booked by the Pune police after violence erupted near Koregaon Bhima, on the outskirts of Pune city, on January 1, 2018, a day after the Elgar Parishad conclave was organised.

Police had said inflammatory speeches and provocative statements made at the conclave, which it claimed was “Maoist backed”, triggered violence at Koregaon Bhima.

The case was transferred to the NIA in January last year.

On Monday, three other accused in the case, namely Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Surendra Gadling, were produced before the court.

The trio told the court they were produced before it after over a year, to which the judge said they would now be produced on every hearing.

(With PTI Inputs)