New Delhi, Aug 10 (VOICE) The Supreme Court on Wednesday granted bail to 82-year-old P. Varavara Rao, an accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, rejecting the NIA’s argument that neither age nor medical condition can become a factor for bail to an UAPA accused.
Opposing Rao’s bail plea, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) claimed before a bench headed by Justice U.U. Lalit that he is involved in “serious anti-national activities”.
Justice Lalit noted that the medical condition of Rao, who is currently out on interim bail on medical grounds, has not improved to such an extent over a period that the facility of bail granted earlier to him be withdrawn. Also, he had spent around two-and-a-half-year in custody.
During the hearing, the top court shot a volley of questions at the NIA’s counsel in connection with the case.
The bench, also comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia, asked Additional Solicitor General S.V. Raju, appearing for the NIA, when the trial in the case will start, and noted that the trial court has not framed charges against the accused though charge sheet has been filed.
At this juncture, senior advocate Anand Grover, representing Rao, submitted that the trial will take at least 10 years even if it starts today and there are 16 accused.
Raju contested this line of argument. However, the bench asked Raju, how much time will it take to complete the trial, and he replied that it will take one and a half years.
The top court expressed its view to grant bail to Rao considering his advanced age and medical ailments.
Raju argued allegations against him are grave and pointed out at certain alleged correspondences, where discussions were held with fellow comrades regarding plans to finance the procurement of weapons to be used against the armed forces. He said that the Maoists are responsible for ambushing security forces.
After hearing detailed arguments, the top court said considering the totality of circumstances, in ots view, the appellant is entitled to the relief of bail on medical grounds. It deleted the condition which was imposed by the Bombay High Court in the February last year order, limiting the period of bail granted to Rao on the medical condition to six months.
Rao had moved the top court challenging the Bombay High Court’s order of April 13, which declined his request to stay at his home in Telangana. However, the high court extended the period of temporary bail for three months against the backdrop of medical reasons.
In the plea, Rao submitted before the top court that any further incarceration would ring the death knell for him against the backdrop of his advancing age and deteriorating health, which is a fatal combination.