Varavara Rao granted bail for 6 months by Bombay HC in Bhima Koregaon case

The Bombay High Court on Monday granted bail to Varavara Rao, 81-year-old poet-sctivist and an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, on medical grounds for six months. The Bombay High Court granted the octogenarian bail to Varavara Rao for a period of six months.

Varavara Rao was granted bail on the condition that he remains in Mumbai and be available for investigation whenever needed. The court has also directed that Varavara Rao be discharged from Nanavati Hospital. The order was passed by the division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale.

Varavara Rao, arrested in 2018 in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case, has been in jail since. In jail, 81-year-old Varavara Rao contracted coronavirus and has since been in and out of the hospitals due to his health.

The bench said, “We feel this is a genuine and fit case to grant relief or else we will be abdicating our constitutional duties as a protector of human rights and right to health covered under right to life of Article 21 of the Constitution.”

“Although the material on record shows that the health condition of the under-trial is precarious, we feel that his condition is precarious, sending him back to prison is fraught with the risk,” the Bombay High Court bench said.

The court also felt that there was a need to impose appropriate conditions as necessary “so that the undertrial or those associated with him do not take undue advantage.” While granting bail to 81-year-old Varavara Rao, the Bombay High Court said he shall not leave Mumbai.

“[Varavara Rao] shall inform the details of his residence. He will attend the trial as and when he is asked to attend. He can apply for personal exemption and the court shall apply. He can make WhatsApp video calls to the nearest police station and report his presence,” the court said.

The Bombay High Court said after six months, Varavara Rao shall report back to Taloja Jail to surrender or apply for an extension.

Varavara Rao is one of 10 activists arrested initially by the Pune Police in connection with an alleged nexus between Elgar Parishad and Maoist outfits. The case was transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in January of 2020.

The activists have been accused of making inflammatory speeches at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017. In its statements, the Pune Police has alleged that these speeches led to violence on January 1, 2018, at the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial.

Source – India Today