Sat. Feb 17th, 2024

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday (August 10) granted bail to 82-year-old activist and poet Dr P Varavara Rao, an accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, on medical ground rejecting National Investigation Agency (NIA) plea. An apex court bench headed by Justice U U Lalit said that Rao shall not misuse the liberty in any manner, adding that the bail is only on medical grounds and this order would not impact the case of other accused or the appellant on the merits.

The top court said that Varavara Rao shall not in any way misuse his liberty and he should not be in touch with any witnesses, said an IANS report.  Representing NIA, Additional Solicitor General SV Raju vehemently opposed the submission of appellant and contended that material shows Rao is involved in deep rooted conspiracy and under UAPA, he would not be entitled for bail.

Representing Rao, Senior advocate Anand Grover submitted that taking into account the age and ailments being suffered by his client, release on bail ought not be limited to grant of time and may be granted without such condition. Grover urged the top court to extend medical bail suitably.

Also read: Bhima Koregaon case: Probe panel to summon chiefs of 6 political parties in Maharashtra

Rao had moved the top court challenging the Bombay High Court`s order of April 13, which declined his request to stay at his home in Telangana. The high court had extended the period of temporary bail for three months against in view of medical reasons.

Also read: Bhima Koregaon case: NIA files charge-sheet against 8 accused including Gautam Navlakha, Hany Babu

Rao’s plea submitted before the top court said that any further incarceration would ring the death knell for him against the backdrop of his advancing age and deteriorating health, which is a fatal combination.

Rao was arrested on August 28, 2018 from his Hyderabad residence and is an under-trial in the case. The Pune police had lodged an FIR on January 8, 2018 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Notably, the case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017. The police claimed that inflammatory speeches triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city. The conclave was allegedly organised by people with alleged Maoist links. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) later took over the probe in the matter.

(With IANS/PTI Inputs)

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