MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Saturday extended till March 3 the `medical bail' granted to poet and activist Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case. Rao, 82, was first granted bail on health grounds by the high court in February 2021 for a period of six months. He was also asked not to leave Mumbai.
He then filed an application seeking extension of the bail and subsequently filed another plea seeking permanent bail on the ground of ill-health. The court has, since September 2021, extended the time given to him to surrender several times.
On Saturday, Rao's lawyers mentioned his fresh plea seeking extension of bail before a division bench of Justices S B Shukre and A M Borkar. Rao said in his application that as per medical reports he has asymptomatic Parkinson's disease, neurological ailments and suffers from severe abdomen pain indicating umbilical hernia.
He also sought modification of the bail condition that he must not leave Mumbai, requesting that he be allowed to return to Telangana, his native state. The court said it would hear the application on March 1, and extended the time for surrender till March 3.
Earlier this week, a bench headed by Justice S S Shinde recused (withdrawn) itself from matters pertaining to the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case. Chief Justice Dipankar Datta then assigned the cases to the bench headed by Justice Shukre.
The case relates to the alleged inflammatory speeches delivered at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial.
The Pune police, which probed the case initially, claimed the conclave was backed by Maoists. The NIA later took over the probe. Apart from Rao, several other activists have been arrested in the case under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.