The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday, 27 January, asked the Bombay High Court to reject the bail plea on medical grounds filed by 81 year old poet-activist Varavara Rao.
Rao was arrested in connection with the Elgar Parishad case.
Urging the Court to deny bail to the octogenarian, the NIA, according to PTI, claimed that Rao’s health condition is stable.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, appearing for the NIA, reportedly told the court that Rao’s medical reports from earlier this month suggested that he was fit to be discharged from the Nanavati hospital.
Singh also refuted Maharashtra government’s statement that once discharged from the private hospital Rao will be sent back to Taloja prison, and said that Rao will be admitted to the prison ward of state-run JJ Hospital.
“Therefore, the question of granting him bail arises only if the court doesn’t have faith in the care that the JJ Hospital will be able to provide.”
THE QUESTION OF DEMENTIA
According to PTI, the court, however, pointed out that Rao’s medical reports suggest he was given 20 pills a day.
"“Just see the list of medicines being given to him everyday. He is sustaining on these medicines. So, he’s continuously on medical support.” "
To this Singh said that most of those pills were ‘age related’.
Singh also claimed that the Nanavati Hospital report says Rao doesn’t have dementia.
The court, in response to this, pointed out that reports from the JJ Hospital, the Taloja prison hospital and state-run St George hospital, issued in November last year, all mentioned dementia, and brain atrophy or shrinkage of the brain.
Singh, in response, said that the older reports noting dementia seemed more like ‘course and discussions’ among doctors to check for the same.
“We have full faith in the JJ Hospital but the Nanavati Hospital, where he was last treated, says he doesn’t have dementia right now,” the court stated.
WHAD DID RAO’S COUNSEL SAY?
Senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for Rao, said that JJ Hospital or any other hospital was ‘a bed of infection’. Therefore, Grover said an ailing Rao must not be sent there.
“The only option is to send him back to the Taloja prison if he is fit, else let him out on bail to be at home with his family.”
WHAT DID THE COURT DIRECT?
The court has asked the Nanavati Hospital to submit a fresh medical report with latest updates on Rao’s health on Thursday morning.
The hearing will continue on Thursday afternoon.
The bench, according to PTI, was hearing three petitions:
A writ petition seeking Tao’s complete medical records
A bail plea on medical grounds filed by Rao
A writ petition filed by Rao’s wife Hemlatha, in which she has alleged that Rao’s fundamental rights have been breeched owing to lack of medical care during his continued incarceration. She has also sought that Rao be allowed to return to his family in Hyderabad.
The Bombay High Court had, previously, on 13 January said: “The petitioner is above 80. Keep in mind his age and health conditions. While making submissions on the bail plea, reflect on his health. We are all humans, this is an issue about his health.”
The veteran Telugu poet – who is currently incarcerated in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case and has been in Taloja jail, Navi Mumbai since late 2018 – was admitted to Nanavati Hospital on 18 November after the Bombay High Court considered his poor health condition and directed the Maharashtra government to transfer him to Nanavati Hospital, a private medical facility as a ‘special case’ and not a precedent.
The Maharashtra government had also agreed to bear the cost of his treatment.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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