Varavara Rao is trying to take undue benefit of the pandemic and his old age and seeking bail, says NIA

“The bail application, if any, is to be decided on the facts and circumstances of each case and perusal of the incriminating material against the person.”

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) told the Bombay High Court that accused P Varavara Rao, 81 “under the garb of the current situation on the account of global pandemic of COVID-19 and his old age is trying to take undue benefit of the situation in seeking bail.”

The central agency filed an affidavit on Monday that read, “Mr Rao and other accused in the case (Bhima Koregaon) have been charged with various offences under chapter IV (punishment for terrorist activities) and V (forfeiture of proceeds of terrorism or any property intended to be used for terrorism) of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) as well as Indian Penal Code wherein the prescribed punishment is more than seven years and may extend to imprisonment for life. Therefore even though the guidelines issued by the Maharashtra High Powered committee permits an under-trial prisoner above 60 years of age merely to apply for an interim bail [and not to be granted bail mechanically]. As it is purely the discretion of the court adjudication the bail application as such the court ought to have exercised its discretion.”

The affidavit was filed by Vikram Khalate, Superintendent of Police, NIA, Mumbai said, “The bail application, if any, is to be decided on the facts and circumstances of each case and perusal of the incriminating material against the person. Considering the charges and totality of facts including the fact that adequate evidences have been placed on record to prove the complicity of the accused Mr Rao.”

The 170 page affidavit mentioned, “It is very clear in the findings recorded that the prison authorities responded timely and provided necessary medical aid to him. He was admitted at JJ Hospital for the complaint of giddiness on May 28, 2020 and after medical treatment he was discharged on June 1, 2020 as he was found asymptomatic and haemodynamically stable.”

It added, “The report submitted by the Superintendent of JJ Hospital does not suggest that he is suffering from any such ailment which necessitates him to immediately obtain treatment in multispecialty hospital from specific doctor. ‘Thus it is clear that the pleading with regard to the medical condition of the petitioner (Mr Rao) is merely a ruse to obtain an order of interim relief which is not available to him otherwise on the merits of the case.’”

The NIA concluded, “Cogent evidence has come on record that Mr Rao is a senior member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) and is not only involved in planning and preparing violence but was in the process of creating large scale violence, destruction of property resulting into chaos in the society and thereby destablising the government established by law to fulfil the objectives of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) a ban organisation which is listed in the First Schedule of the UAPA.”

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