Bhima Koregaon case: Jail hospital ill-equipped to monitor Varavara Rao’s health, counsel tells Bombay HC
The counsel for P Hemlatha, wife of 82-year-old Telugu poet P Varavara Rao, on Tuesday, argued before the Bombay high court (HC) that though Nanavati Hospital had said that Rao was fit to be discharged, Taloja jail hospital does not have the wherewithal to continue close monitoring of Rao’s health. Hence, she said it would be better to allow the Telugu poet to go back home to Hyderabad where his condition could be closely monitored by Rao’s daughter and granddaughter, both of whom are doctors, as per the recommendations by the Nanavati Hospital.
Senior advocate Anand Grover also informed the division bench of justice SS Shinde and justice Manish Pitale that the state government has submitted medical reports of all hospitals where Rao had been admitted since he tested positive for Covid-19, but the Sir JJ Hospital report of May 28 was not provided.
Grover submitted that all the hospital reports provided to them had confirmed that Rao had an underlying condition which included urinary tract infection, hypertension, blood pressure, heart problems and low sodium levels, which had been arranged after Rao tested positive for Covid.
Grover confirmed that Rao’s health had improved and also agreed to the recommendation of Nanavati Hospital that Rao was fit to be discharged. He, however, submitted that the question was whether Taloja jail hospital was competent and had the required expertise to closely monitor Rao’s condition. He added that the jail authorities were aware that they will not be able to monitor Rao’s condition, hence Rao’s wife’s petition seeking bail on medical grounds should be allowed.
Grover further reiterated that Rao was willing to stand trial, and as he suffered from neurological issues, he should be allowed to go home temporarily to be with his family till the trial started.
“Rao is 82 years old and if he is sent back to Taloja jail hospital, there is a likelihood that he will die,” said Grover. “He has to take 15 medicines every day for various medical conditions and ailments, hence even though he may be discharged from Nanavati Hospital, sending him back to Taloja jail hospital would not serve any purpose, as there will be lack of close monitoring and absence of facilities. There would be a recurrence of the underlying conditions and Rao will have to be admitted into a hospital again,” said Grover.
After hearing the submissions, the court sought to know from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the state government whether Rao suffered from dementia. The court also sought to know from Grover whether the court was competent to replace the view of the doctors at Nanavati Hospital. Grover replied in the negative and said that though the court could not go against the view of the hospital, the conditions post-discharge were such that it required interference by the court.
Submissions on behalf of Rao will continue on Wednesday.