NEW DELHI: On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of India grants bail to Varavara Rao on medical grounds. The bench headed by Justice U U Lalit said that the medical condition of the 82-year-old Varavara Rao has not improved to such an extent that the relief granted earlier to him be withdrawn.
He is currently out on interim bail on health grounds. The Supreme Court further said that even though the charge sheet has already been filed and submitted to the court but the matter has not been taken up for framing of the charges against him because some of the accused has not been apprehended yet.
The bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia held that various applications by the accused seeking discharge are still pending. Further Bench said –
“The medical condition of the appellant (Varavara Rao) has not improved to such an extent over a period of time that the facility of bail which was granted earlier be withdrawn,”
Rao was charged and alleged of inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave in 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 said that the meeting was organized by people with alleged Maoist links. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) later took over the probe in the matter. Varavara Rao was arrested on August 28, 2018, from Hyderabad in his residence and 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.
While granting bail to Varavara Rao, the court restrict Rao that he can not leave Mumbai without express permission from the trial court.
“The appellant shall not in any way misuse his liberty, nor shall he get in touch with any of the witnesses or try to influence the course of an investigation,” it said.
The bench made it clear that the benefit of bail is extended to Varavara Rao only on his medical condition and any observations made in the order shall not be taken to be a reflection on merits or rival contentions advanced by the parties.
Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the NIA, vehemently opposed the plea and argued that materials on record show the involvement of Varavara Rao in a deep-rooted conspiracy and he is not entitled to be granted the relief of bail.
He argued that the accused is allegedly involved in serious activities which are against the nation. The top court had earlier observed that interim protection granted to Varavara Rao would continue till further orders.
In his plea filed against the April 13 order of the high court, Varavara Rao has said that he has undergone over two years of incarceration as an under-trial.
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