December 3, 2020: A division bench of the Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday extended 82-year-old political prisoner P Varavara Rao’s stay at Nanavati Hospital till December 15. Rao’s wife, P Hemlatha, told the court that Rao’s family is happy with the progress in his health, but needed to study the medical report before they could argue for his bail on medical grounds. The court accepted this and restrained the state and National Investigation Agency (NIA) from discharging Rao without informing the court. Rao is among the accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case.
On November 18, the court had directed the state to shift Rao to Nanavati Hospital for treatment. Rao has been in the hospital since November 19. On Thursday, Hemlatha’s petition regarding Rao’s medical condition came up for hearing and the state submitted Nanavati Hospital’s medical report on Rao before the division bench of justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik in a sealed envelope.
After seeing Rao’s report, the bench observed there had been some improvements in Rao’s condition, which Hemlatha’s legal team, comprising advocates Indira Jaising, Anand Grover and R Satyanarayan, confirmed.
Jaising requested the court to give the family a copy of the report and to allow them time to study it so that they may argue further. She also requested the court to restrain the state and NIA from discharging Rao and returning him to Taloja Jail.
The court acceded to the request and noted in its order, “Pursuant to the order passed by court on November 19, Rao is in Nanavati Hospital. Since the matter is adjourned to December 15, Rao may not be discharged from Nanavati Hospital without informing this court. The earlier order dated November 18 (related to visit of family members) shall continue.”
Chief public prosecutor Deepak Thakare and additional solicitor general Anil Singh for NIA informed the court they had no objection to the defense’s request. The court will hear the matter next on December 15.