Elgar Parishad case: Poet-activist Varavara Rao likely to return to jail today
- Rao was lodged in Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai before being granted bail on medical grounds for six months in February. He was due to surrender on September 5 this year but the bail period was extended multiple times due to medical care.
Poet Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoists links case, is likely to return to jail on Monday after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said his health condition is stable and hence he must surrender before the prison. The 83-year-old activist is out on interim bail since February this year. He was medically examined earlier this month.
On December 17, NIA counsel Sandesh Patil told a bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and S V Kotwal in Bombay High Court that Rao had been medically examined by a panel of doctors at the private Nanavati Hospital in the city and the doctors were of the opinion that he does not need continuous medical attention or hospitalisation at present. "His health condition is stable now and the time granted via medical bail to him by this court is already over. So he (Rao) should surrender now. All other issues (raised by Rao's lawyers) can be examined after that," Patil told the high court.
Rao was lodged in Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai before being granted bail on medical grounds for six months in February. He was due to surrender on September 5 this year but the bail period was extended multiple times due to medical care.
"Currently he has minor symptoms, such as lack of sleep and slight exhaustion. His vital parameters are in normal range. The remaining clinical examination reveals no significant abnormalities," according to the document submitted by the NIA to court.
The Elgar Parishad case is related to inflammatory speeches made at an event in Pune on December 31 in 2017, which, the police claimed, triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial. The prosecution claimed the conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links.
The NIA has laid down 17 charges against 15 accused, including human rights and civil rights activists, and wants them to be charged under various sections of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It has alleged that the accused persons were active members of the banned terror outfit CPI (Maoist).
The arrested accused in the case include activists and academicians Sudha Bharadwaj (who later got bail), Vernon Gonsalves, Varavara Rao, Hany Babu, Anand Teltumbde, Shoma Sen, Gautam Navlakha and others. Elderly tribal rights activist and an accused in the case, Stan Swamy, passed away in custody on July 5 this year after suffering a cardiac arrest.