Activist Varavara Rao Need Not Surrender Till November 18: Bombay High Court

Varavara Rao, 82, had been granted interim bail for six months on medical grounds by the High Court on February 22 this year.

Activist Varavara Rao Need Not Surrender Till November 18: Bombay High Court

Varavara Rao filed an application last month seeking extension of the bail period. (File)

Mumbai:

The Bombay High Court today said poet Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case who is on interim bail, need not surrender before the Taloja prison authorities until November 18 and adjourned the hearing on a plea filed by him to next month.

Varavara Rao, 82, had been granted interim bail for six months on medical grounds by the High Court on February 22 this year. He was scheduled to surrender and return to judicial custody on September 5.

However, Varavara Rao filed an application last month through his lawyer R Sathyanarayanan and senior counsel Anand Grover, seeking extension of the bail period. He also sought HC permission to stay in his hometown of Hyderabad while out on bail.

However, the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the probe agency in the case, opposed Varavara Rao's plea for extension of medical bail and shifting to Hyderabad, saying the octogenarian poet-activist's medical reports do not indicate that he suffers from any serious ailment.

In its affidavit filed before the High Court last month, the NIA had said that the medical reports filed by Varavara Rao did not disclose any major ailment, which necessitated him to take treatment at Hyderabad, neither did it form a ground for further extension of bail.

On Tuesday, a bench of Justices Nitin Jamdar and SV Kotwal adjourned the hearing on Rao's plea due to paucity of time.

The bench also asked Varavara Rao to file a separate plea seeking permission to shift to his hometown while out on medical bail.

As part of the stringent conditions imposed on his interim bail by the HC, Varavara Rao has been staying with his wife in a rented accommodation in Mumbai.

At the time that he was granted bail, he had been undergoing treatment for multiple ailments at the private Nanavati Hospital in the metropolis, where he had been admitted by the Maharashtra prison authorities following the High Court's intervention.

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the 'Elgar Parishad' conclave, held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the city's outskirts.

The Pune police had claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists. The probe in the case, in which more than a dozen activists and academicians have been named accused, was later transferred to the NIA.

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