Bhima Koregaon Case: HC grants 6 Month Bail To Varavar Rao

by Shatakshi Gupta

In the Bhima-Koregaon violence case, the Bombay High Court granted bail to the poet-activist Varavara Rao (81), due to his ill health. While granting the bail, the court has placed a condition that Rao will have to remain in the jurisdiction of Mumbai NIA for the next 6 months and will have to be available on calling for investigation. The court has asked him to fill a personal bond of Rs 50,000. Rao was arrested for the first time in August 2018 in the Bhima Koregaon violence case.

Varavara was in judicial custody at Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai. A few days back, he was admitted to the Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai after his health got deteriorated. After this, a bail petition was filed on the medical ground. However, after an improvement in health, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) requested the court to dismiss his petition. The agency had said that his present condition is stable.

 Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the NIA, reminded the court about Rao’s medical reports received earlier this month from Nanavati Hospital. According to reports, his condition is stable and he may be discharged from the hospital.

Hearing on 3 petitions related to Rao

 The High Court was hearing 3 petitions related to Rao. In a petition, Rao has been requested to provide complete medical records. Secondly, bail was filed on medical grounds by Rao.  Third, Rao’s wife Hemlata filed charges alleging violation of fundamental rights due to lack of medical care.

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Rao’s lawyer cited corona infection

Anand Grover, advocate of Varavara Rao, had argued that there is a possibility of infection in JJ Hospital or any other hospital and that sick Rao should not be sent there. After this, the High Court directed Nanavati Hospital to submit a new medical report regarding Rao’s health condition. Rao was granted bail only after receiving the report.

Why he was arrested?

 The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches at the Elgar Parishad conference held in Pune on 31 December 2017. Police claim that the next day violence erupted near Bhima Koregaon War Memorial. Police claim that the conference was organized by people who allegedly have links with Naxalites.

Who is Varavara Rao?

 Varavara Rao is a poet and writer. He was arrested for the first time in August 2018 in the Bhima Koregaon violence case.  Rao has been writing poems since 1957. He was arrested during the Emergency in October 1973 under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA).

 He was arrested and released more than once in several different cases, including the 1986 Ramnagar conspiracy case. In 2003, he was acquitted in the conspiracy case and was again sent to jail in 2005. He is considered a supporter of Naxalites. Rao has been accused of promoting Naxalism many times.