SC grants bail to Varavara Rao: The bail conditions imposed by the apex court on Mr Rao include that he does not leave the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court in Greater Mumbai without prior permission.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted regular bail to Telugu poet-activist Varavara Rao on medical grounds in the Bhima Koregaon case.
SC bail Varavara Rao
Justice U.U. Lalit considered the factual aspects of the case to grant him bail, in which he is 82 years old and his medical condition is still not improved.
Mr Rao, currently out on interim bail, had sought regular bail on health grounds.
“Not everyone in their eighties is in the pink of their health. She has never abused her freedom while on bail… Some people can run marathons in their nineties. Some people in their eighties and Nineties are healthy, some are not,” Bench observed.
The top court noted that Mr Rao was taken into custody in the case in August 2018 and has in fact spent two and a half years in custody except the limited interim bail granted to him in February 2021.
The bench said that other factual details entitle him to regular bail in the case, including that the authorities are yet to arrest some other accused.
The court observed that though the charge sheet has been filed, the matter has not been taken up for framing of charges. Further, various applications filed by the accused persons seeking discharge are still pending consideration by the trial court. All this can further delay testing.
“Given the totality of the circumstances, in our view, the appellant is entitled to relief of bail,” Justice Lalit ordered for the bench which also included Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia.
The court removed the conditions limiting the relief with reference to the time when Mr Rao was granted interim bail in 2021. However, it ordered that Mr Rao should not leave the area of Greater Mumbai without prior permission or abuse the freedom granted to him. Now or contact a witness or try to influence the course of the investigation.
The court said that Mr Rao is entitled to medical attention of his choice, but he should inform the authorities about the treatment he has received. SC bail Varavara Rao
The court clarified that the relief of bail was granted only on medical grounds and purely on the basis of the details of the incidents. The relief should not be construed as a reflection of the merits of the case or of the rival defenses by the parties.
In the hour-long hearing, senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for Mr. Rao, submitted that his client’s health kept deteriorating over time. He said that in view of the age and ailments of Mr. Rao, he should be granted unconditional bail. Mr Grover said his client was showing early signs of Parkinson’s disease.
Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju argued for the National Investigation Agency that Mr Raju was part of a “deep conspiracy” and was not entitled to bail under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, under which he was charged. Mr Raju said that the accused has created all kinds of hurdles in the case to get bail. He said the top court should adjourn the appeal for six months and see how the hearing progresses.
“According to your chargesheet, how many deaths are these people responsible for?” Justice Lalit asked Mr. Raju.
Mr Grover intervened to say that his client was not responsible for a single death and that only electronic evidence was allegedly shown against him in the chargesheet.
The court asked Mr. Raju that if the accused was found guilty, he would have to face the punishment.
“Death,” replied Mr. Raju. SC bail Varavara Rao
“We consider that offense to be of serious nature. But you did not challenge the bail which was given earlier. He was granted medical bail six months back and it was extended by one and a half year… He did not has misused his bail,” the court observed.
The court observed that there was sufficient time for custodial interrogation when the accused was in custody for more than two years.
The bench, addressed to Mr., said, “You are not fighting that he needs medical attention. Look at his age. At this age, a man does not recover and is back as before. His health.” doesn’t improve.” Raju
In an affidavit, the central agency had described Mr Rao as one of those who benefitted from the subversive activities of the Naxals, which led to massive destruction and several deaths among police and security personnel.
“The act of the petitioner/accused has a direct bearing on the unity, integrity, security and sovereignty of India,” the NIA said.
The central agency said the accused was neither justified nor entitled to relief on constitutional grounds as his acts were “against the interest of the state and society” and his offense was serious.
The NIA said the evidence points to Mr. Rao and his co-accused “were in the process of continuously fulfilling the agenda of the CPI (Maoist).”