The Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed 82-year-old poet and activist P Varavara Rao, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, to approach the trial court with his plea to travel to Hyderabad for cataract surgery.
A three-judge bench of Justices UU Lalit, SR Bhatt and Sudhanshu Dhulia noted that as per its August 10 order, it was directed that Mr Rao shall not leave the area of Greater Mumbai without express permission from the trial court.
Senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for Mr Rao, submitted that the petitioner is 82 years of age and has been advised to get cataract surgery. He submitted that Rao hails from Telangana and was a resident of Hyderabad. Mr Grover said that because Mr Rao has his roots in Hyderabad, he would like to get operated there.
Additional Solicitor General SV Raju, appearing for the NIA, opposed his plea and said that when three months were given earlier, he did not go for the surgery.
The Supreme Court in its order said, ”However, considering the limitations put by this Court, the Petitioner was to stay within the limits of Greater Mumbai.
“Instead of this court considering the request, we give the petitioner the liberty to make a representation before the concerned trial court within two weeks with an advance copy to the public prosecutor,” the bench said.
The Supreme Court said that the concerned court shall take into consideration the plea within three weeks on receipt of such application.
The Supreme Court on August 10 granted bail to Mr Rao, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, on medical grounds.
The National Investigation Agency or NIA vehemently opposed Rao's plea in the Supreme Court claiming that he is involved in "serious anti-national activities".
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 that the conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links. The NIA later took over the probe in the matter.
Mr Rao was arrested on August 28, 2018, from his Hyderabad residence and is accused in the case for which 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.
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