The Bombay High Court on Monday granted interim bail to 81-year-old poet-activist Varavara Rao on medical grounds in Bhima-Koregaon case. Rao is currently undergoing treatment at Mumbai’s Nanavati hospital where he was admitted by Maharashtra government following intervention from High Court last year. The court has directed Rao to remain in Mumbai and be available for investigation whenever required.
Pronouncing the order, the Bombay HC bench of Justices S. S. Shinde and Manish Pitale said if it does not grant bail to Rao, it would be failing in its duty to protect the principles of human rights and a citizen’s fundamental rights to life and health.
The court has also asked Rao to not contact any of the co-accused and submit his passport before the National Investigation agency. The HC has also directed him to submit a personal bond of ₹ 50,000 and two sureties of the same amount.
Following the Bombay HC order, Rao’s daughter Pavani expressed relief. She said in the past two and half years, none of the accused were being given any relief in the case and this is a huge development. She said they will talk to lawyers to decide next course of action as Rao will have to stay in Mumbai.
Varavaro Rao is an accused in Bhima-Koregaon case along with nine other activists. The police have alleged that the provocative speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave in Pune in December 2017 led to violence the next day. He has been in custody since August 2018 awaiting trial in the case.