The Bombay High Court on Monday allowed 82-year-old poet Varavara Rao, who is accused in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, to be released after paying a cash bond of ₹50,000 and furnishing two sureties by April 5.
On February 24, senior advocate Anand Grover representing Mr. Rao appeared before a division bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and Manish Pitale. He had requested the court to grant him bail on cash bond as sureties are taking time to be arranged due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On February 22, the same bench had granted bail to Mr. Rao for six months on medical grounds on his furnishing a P.R. Bond of ₹50,000 and two solvent sureties in the like amount.
On November 18, 2020, the Maharashtra government had agreed to shift Mr. Rao from Taloja Central jail hospital for 15 days for medical examination and treatment. Mr. Rao continued to be admitted there till the court granted him on bail.
Mr. Grover urged the court to discharge Mr. Rao and send him home and not back to Taloja Central Jail as the jail administration is not capable with the existing infrastructure to look after him.
Arguing for Mr Rao’s release, senior advocate Indira Jaising had said as there are 200 witnesses to be examined in the case, he will be detained till death and if he dies it will be a custodial death.
Mr. Rao was arrested on August 28, 2018 along with advocate Sudha Bharadwaj, activists Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira.
The National Investigation Agency’s chargesheet states, “All accused have conspired to further the ideology of terrorist organisation CPI (Maoist) and abetted violence, brought into hatred and incited disaffection towards the Government established by law and promoted enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, caste and community.”