Bhima Koregaon case: SC grants bail on medical grounds to Varavara Rao
A bench headed by Justice U.U. Lalit said 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 Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to 82-year-old P Varavara Rao, an accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, rejecting NIA's opposition that neither age nor medical condition can become a factor for bail to an UAPA accused.
A bench headed by Justice U.U. Lalit said 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 Rao shall not in any way misuse his liberty and he should not be in touch with any witnesses.
Senior advocate Anand Grover, representing Rao, 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.
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. However, the high court extended the period of temporary bail for three months against the backdrop of medical reasons.
The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.
The Pune Police had also claimed the conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) later took over the probe in the matter.
In the plea, Rao submitted before the top court 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. An FIR was lodged by the Pune Police on January 8, 2018 under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
With inputs from agencies