NIA supports plan to shift P Varavara Rao to Mumbai’s Sir JJ Hospital
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday supported a proposal by the state government to shift 82-year-old Telugu poet P Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, to the prison ward of Sir JJ Hospital and opposed the petition filed by Rao’s wife P Hemlatha seeking bail for him on medical grounds. In her petition, Hemlatha had pointed out that a previous Nanavati Hospital report said that Rao was fit to be discharged and could take care of himself.
Rao’s counsel submitted that shifting Rao to Sir JJ Hospital could result in a relapse, and hence the option was to either send him to Taloja jail or his house in Hyderabad. The court sought a fresh report from Nanavati Hospital and will hear the state’s arguments opposing the petition on Thursday.
A division bench of justice SS Shinde and justice Manish Pitale, while hearing the petition, was informed by additional solicitor general Anil Singh for NIA, that there was no doubt that Rao had recovered and was fit to be discharged from Nanavati Hospital, and the same had been confirmed by the counsels of Rao who had expressed their satisfaction at his improved medical condition. Singh added that in light of the apprehensions of Rao’s family that he would have a relapse if shifted to Taloja jail, NIA agreed with the state’s proposal to shift Rao to the prison ward of Sir JJ Hospital.
When asked by the court whether Rao had dementia, Singh referred to the January 12 report of Nanavati Hospital and previous medical reports and said that none of the reports mentioned it.
In response to the court query on the condition of brain atrophy, which was mentioned in one of Rao’s medical reports, senior counsel Anand Grover said that research reports available online suggested that it could lead to dementia.
Singh, however, opposed the submission and said that it was just a presumption and could not be relied upon. He then referred to the last medical report and said that the 20 medicines which Rao was being administered daily were age-related and could be given to Rao even in the prison ward of Sir JJ Hospital.
Grover then submitted that hospitals were a hotbed of infections, and if Rao was shifted to Sir JJ Hospital, there was every chance of his health getting affected adversely. He submitted that the only option was to send Rao to Taloja jail or back home. He added that Rao had complained of chest pain after the last medical report was submitted by Nanavati Hospital.
After hearing about the chest pain, the bench sought a fresh report from Nanavati Hospital and posted hearing for Thursday.
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