Varavara Rao
Rao was arrested on August 28, 2018 from his Hyderabad residence | Photo: Twitter

Free at last: Activist Varavara Rao gets medical bail, to stay in Mumbai

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Eighty-two-year-old revolutionary poet and activist Varavara Rao, was discharged from Mumbai’s Nanavati Hospital late on Saturday (March 6) night, almost a month after being granted interim bail by the Bombay High Court in the Elgar Parishad case.

“Free at last,” tweeted his lawyer Indira Jaysingh.

Rao was discharged from the hospital at around 11.45 pm. He was received by his wife Hemalatha, daughter Sahaja, Jaysingh and a few other activists.

A jovial looking Rao was photographed giving a red salute (a gesture used by the Left) in the photo that Jaysingh tweeted.

“Varavara Rao, no anger no bitterness no hatred on his face, the moment of his release on medical bail from Nanavati Hospital,” Jaysingh tweeted.

He was taken to a flat which the family had taken on rent for the brief stay, as the Bombay high court imposed condition that he should live in the city.

The Bombay High Court on February 22 granted him interim conditional bail on medical grounds for six months. Rao was undergoing treatment at the private hospital.

Rao had been admitted to the hospital due to ill-health. According to lawyers Firdos Mirza and Nihalsingh Rathod, Rao suffers from many health problems and has shown symptoms of dementia. He had also contracted COVID-19 in jail. He had later requested the court that he be allowed to furnish cash sureties until solvent sureties could be found. It had granted the request on Monday.

Among the conditions imposed by the high court are that he should not meet any visitors except for close family members and not talk to media and social media among others. The family is now in talks with the lawyers to approach the high court for relaxation of the conditions.

“Mumbai is completely new to all of us. We cannot manage. And, the conditions imposed by the high court are very stringent. We will seek relaxation of the conditions,” Rao’s family member Venu Gopal told The Federal.

“We are happy that Varavara Rao is out of jail. It is just a partial relief for us. The relaxation of conditions will bring the full relief,” Venu added.

Rao was arrested in January 2018 in connection with the Elgar Parishad case, one of the two ongoing investigations related to the Bhima Koregaon violence witnessed on January 1, 2018, and charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. Several other activists and lawyers have also been arrested for their alleged involvement in the case. The police charged Rao with being a part of a group that plotted to eliminate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The case was subsequently transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Related news: Activist Varavara Rao gets bail on health grounds in Elgar Parishad case

Recently, a US based forensic company submitted a report on behalf of Rona Wilson, one of the accused activists. The company called Aresenal Consulting found that Rona’s computer was hacked into sophisticatedly and incriminating mails were sent from his account to Varavara and others. “After the Arsenal report, we hoped that the fabricated case would be quashed and all those implicated would be set free. However, the court gave partial relief by granting bail,” Venu said.

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