The Bombay High Court on Monday granted bail to Varavara Rao on medical grounds for six months. The 81-year-old poet-activist accused in the Bhema Koregaon case, has been granted bail on the condition that he remains in Mumbai and be available for investigation whenever needed. ALSO READ | Puducherry Floor Test: Narayanasamy Govt Loses Majority Votes; Congress Leaders Walk Out Of Assembly
The division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale directed that Varavara Rao be discharged from Nanavati Hospital. Arrested in 2018, Rao has been in jail since then, and was recently found to be infected with the novel Coronavirus following which he was in and out of the hospital for health reasons.
The Bombay High Court on Monday heard two separate pleas – one by Rao praying for bail and the other by his wife Pendyala Hemlatha seeking the Court’s intervention in view of the alleged violation of his fundamental right to health.
Pronouncing the verdict, the high court bench said, “We are of the opinion that this is a genuine and fit case to grant relief or else we will be abdicating our constitutional duties as protector of human rights and right to health covered under right to life of Article 21 of the Constitution.”
Rao has been directed to mark his presence with the nearest police station through WhatsApp video call. He has been asked to not indulge in any activities or similar activities which led to the registration of the FIR. Moreover, he is not allowed to issue any statements or speak to the media, print and electronic.
Who is Varavara Rao?
On August 28, three activits were arrested for their alleged Maoists links. The two others who were arrested are poet P Varavara Rao and Gautam Navlakha. The arrests were made in connection with the Elgar Parishad conclave in Pune on December 31 which allegedly triggered the violence at Koregaon Bhima the next day, on January 1. Pune Police in the investigation alleged that the violence was caused following speeches given by members of the group Elgar Parishad on December 31, 2017.
Born in 1940 in a middle-class Telugu Brahmin family in a Warangal village, Rao is considered to be a prolific poet, journalist, Maoist sympathiser and a Marxist critic.
Rao has been arrested several times in seraraate cases including the Ramnagar conspiracy case where he was alleged to have attended a meeting where the plan to kill Andhra Pradesh Police constable Sambaiah and inspector Yadagiri Reddy was hatched.