The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the Nanavati Super Specialty hospital in Mumbai to submit a health report of veteran poet and jailed social activist Varavara Rao who is currently undergoing treatment for COVID-19 within three days.
Varavara Rao, 81, is currently awaiting trial in the Elgar Parishad case being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). He is believed to have contracted the coronavirus while he was in Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai.
The court further accepted the petition by his family members to be allowed to visit him in the hospital subject following COVID-19 safety norms.
The family had written to Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday saying that they are being denied any information about his health condition or treatment at Nanavati Hospital for the last 12 days.
"We are extremely worried and anxious to know about his health and writing to you since he is lodged in a jail under your ministry as an under-trial prisoner and it is your bounden duty to look after his well-being," the letter said.
Speaking to NDTV, P Pavana, Varavara Rao's daughter said, "The last information we had was on 16th (July) when the jail authorities told us that he is tested positive. And after shifting to Nanavati, we called them but the response we got is that they give information only to jail authorities."
"I have been trying to call jail authorities since and every time the response we got was that they don't have any information," she added.
Initially, Mr Rao was shifted to Sir JJ Hospital from Taloja Jail after his health condition deteriorated and then later, to St George's Hospital, a dedicated COVID-19 facility, after he tested positive.
He was found to be asymptomatic but because of his age and other co-morbities, he was later shifted to Nanavati Hospital.
Mr Rao has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2019, a non-bailable law, by the special NIA court in the Elgar Parishad Bhima Koregaon case that was transferred from the Pune Police to NIA in February.
The court also said that after receiving the health report and after reviewing it, it will decide whether the report could be shared with Mr Rao's family or not.