Saturday, February 4, 2023

Bhima Koregaon Case: Bombay High Court rejects the plea for permanent bail to Varavara Rao

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The plea for permanent bail filed by Telugu poet Varavara Rao who is an accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon violence was rejected by the Bombay High Court today.

A bench of Justice SB Shukre and Justice GA Sanap also rejected the application to stay in Telangana during the bail period by Rao as well“The present petition seeking permanent bail is dismissed. Plea seeking modification of bail to go to Telangana is dismissed,” the Court said.

The Court, understanding the issue has however extended the earlier order granting him temporary bail for 3 months.

A temporary medical bail was granted to Rao by an earlier Division Bench in February 2021 for a period of six months. Before the six month expire, Rao filed for an extension of medical bail in February 2021 ,along with modification in the conditions of bail, however National Investigation Agency (NIA) objected to the modifications and the High Court also instructed Rao to file a ,petition with fresh grounds.

Rao filed three separate pleas through Advocate R Satyanarayanan:
1.An application for extension of interim bail that was granted in 2021 February
2.A writ petition seeking permanent bail on medical grounds;
3.Application for the permission to stay in Hyderabad during the duration of bail,stating Mumbai is very costly and he is not able to afford

On behalf of Rao,the Senior Advocate Anand Grover along with advocate Aditya Chitale made the following submissions:

1.The cure for multiple medical ailments that Rao was suffering was turning out to be expensive.Rao was spending an amount close to  ₹96,000 per month, while the pension that he received    from the State of Telangana was only ₹50,000;
2.Staying in Hyderabad, may help him in saving some money as Telangana is cheaper in terms on living than Mumbai may end up saving money, considering the fact that the cost of living and medical expenses are lower in Telangana
3.That security which NIA seeks can be managed from Telangana as well as NIA is a national agency having jurisdiction across the country. Therefore, Rao could report to the NIA office located in Telangana.

On behalf of NIA, Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh opposed all the applications and said

1.That Rao’s application for permanent bail and leave to move to Telangana had been rejected by the earlier Bench;
2.He further said that as per Section 437 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, Rao was required to first approach the Sessions Court, before coming to the High Court directly, hence the writ petition for permanent bail was not maintainable

3.The interim bail period of six months  had expired after which Rao filed for extension of medical bail; however even the next period of 6 months have already lapsed;

They also mentioned that doctors at Nanavati hospital had examined Rao and given their opinion in the report submitted to the Court;That if Rao requires medical attention, then the prison authorities are equipped to look after him, and if required, transfer to JJ hospital, which has excellent doctors giving priority to a humanitarian approach;

That Rao is an accused of serious offences under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) which was also considered by the earlier bench while rejecting the permanent bail application

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