Varavara Rao approaches Supreme Court for permanent medical bail plea in Bhima Koregaon case

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Any further incarceration would ring the death knell for him, the activist said.

Activist Varavara Rao, who is an accused within the Bhima Koregaon case, on Thursday approached the Supreme Court seeking permanent bail on medical grounds, Bar and Bench reported.

A vacation bench of Justices Surya Kant and JB Pardiwala said they're going to hear the plea on July 11.

The 82-year-old has challenged an order of the Bombay judicature which had rejected his plea seeking permanent bail on medical grounds on April 13. The court, however, had extended Rao’s temporary bail by three months in order that he could undergo cataract surgery.

Tha activist has also said that he also suffers from neurological ailments, abdomen pain which may be because of hernia and asymptomatic Parkinson’s disease.

Rao is among the 16 activists who are charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly conspiring to line off caste violence in Bhima Koregaon village near Pune in 2018. He was granted bail on medical grounds in February last year. The court has been granting extensions on the bail order since September.

In Thursday’s plea, filed through advocate Nupur Kumar, Rao told the Supreme Court that any more incarceration would ring the death knell for him as advancing age and deteriorating health are a fatal combination, PTI reported.

Rao said that he's challenging the tribunal order as his bail wasn't extended, despite his advanced age and bad health. He also said that his plea to shift to Hyderabad was also denied.

Rao submitted that within the totality of circumstances, the trial will take not but 10 years.

“In fact, one in all the accused within the case, Father Stan Swamy, who was affected by similar ailments because the Petitioner, gave up the ghost even before the trial could start,” he said in his plea, in line with PTI.

Swamy, an 84-year-old tribal rights activist, died in custody in July. He suffered from Parkinson’s disease and had also contracted the coronavirus infection while in prison. He was repeatedly denied bail despite his deteriorating health condition.

Rao, in his plea, also said that he has the correct to health and medical treatment under Article 21 and therefore the same would be violated if he remains imprisoned in Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai.

On June 16, a United States-based cybersecurity company had claimed that the Pune Police hacked electronic devices owned by Rao, and his co-accused Rona Wilson and Hany Wilson within the case.

In February 2021, a United States-based digital forensics company, Arsenal Consulting, had claimed that an attacker had used malware to infiltrate Wilson’s laptop and deposited a minimum of 10 incriminating letters thereon. These included a purported letter to a Maoist militant discussing the requirement for guns and ammunition, and even urging the banned group to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In February this year, California-based cybersecurity company SentinelOne had claimed that Wilson had been targeted by two separate groups of hackers before he was arrested in June 2018.