New Delhi: Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to P Varavara Rao, 82-year-old poet-activist from Hyderabad, in the Bhima Koregaon case on medical grounds rejecting a contention by the National Investigation Agency of India that neither age nor medical condition can become a factor for bail to an accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
A three-judge bench, presided over by Justice Lalit, modified the Bombay High Court’s order which had granted him the relief of bail for a period of three months, a report by Decan Herald said.
The top court clarified that the bail was being allowed on purely medical grounds and this order would not impact the case of other accused or the appellant on merits.
It also ordered that Rao would not leave Greater Mumbai without permission from the trial court or misuse his liberty to get in touch with any witness or influence the course of the investigation.
In its order, the bench noted that Rao is 82 years of age and had already spent two and half years in custody after his initial arrest on August 28, 2018.
The charge sheet has been filed but some of the accused have still not been apprehended and the matter has not been taken for framing of charges while discharge pleas by some of the accused are pending consideration before the trial court.
Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, representing NIA, vehemently opposed the submission of the appellant and contended that material shows Rao is involved in the deep-rooted conspiracy and under UAPA, he would not be entitled to bail
Meanwhile, Amnesty India welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision and sought the release of 13 others named in the case.
“We welcome Supreme Court’s decision to grant regular bail to Varavara Rao, arrested in August 2018 & given interim bail last year on medical grounds. But 13 others continue to be imprisoned without trial in the case. Authorities must stop the crackdown & free them all,” a tweet by Amnesty India said.