Mumbai, November 12: The Bombay High Court on Thursday rejected the bail plea of Telugu poet and activist Varavara Rao who has been in jail since 2018. While dismissing Varavara Rao's bail application, the Bombay High Court directed the Maharashtra government and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to arrange for a video medical consultation of the jailed activist by doctors of Nanavati Hospital. Varavara Rao, Arrested in Bhima Koregaon Case, Tests Positive For COVID-19: Reports.
Rao, an 81-year-old accused in the Elgar Parishad- Maoist links case, is lodged as an under-trial in the Taloja prison in neighbouring Navi Mumbai. The high court issued direction on Rao's wife Hemlata's petition that he be shifted to the private Nanavati Hospital for better treatment, an independent medical board be set up to assess his health, and he be released on bail.
As per the court's order, doctors at the Nanavati hospital will have to submit their video assessment report of Rao's health as soon as it was ready, and submit a physical assessment report, if such examination was felt to be necessary, by November 16. Rao had earlier approached the special NIA court, seeking bail on medical grounds and the prevailing COVID-19 situation.
On June 26, the NIA court had rejected his plea on the ground that he has been booked under stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), following which he moved the high court. Rao was arrested along with eight other activists in connection with the December 31, 2017, public meeting by the Elgar Parishad and the subsequent caste riots on January 1, 2018, in Koregaon-Bhima village of Pune.
The activist is facing charges of anti-national activities and attempting to overthrow the elected government at the centre and hatching a conspiracy to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.