Will shift Varavara Rao to J.J. Hospital, Maharashtra tells HC

His lawyer urges court to grant Rao bail for three months so that he can remain fit to stand for trial

The Maharashtra government on Thursday told the Bombay High Court that 82-year-old undertrial Varavara Rao would be shifted to the prison ward in the State-run J.J. Hospital and provided all the care needed.

Also read: Hope does not yet grow dog-eared with Varavara Rao

Government counsel Deepak Thakare informed a division bench of justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale that Mr. Rao would be allowed to meet his family at the hospital as per protocols and provided all the medical treatment and attention given at Nanavati Hospital where he is currently admitted. The State was ready to admit him rightaway in ward number 44 of JJ Hospital.

Senior advocate Indira Jaisingh for Mr. Rao urged the court to grant him bail for three months so that he can remain fit to stand for trial. She said there were 200 witnesses in the case. He would be detained till death. โ€˜What does life imprisonment mean for an 80-year-old? Everyone has a right to life till his last few days with dignity,โ€™ she contended.

Ms Jaisingh argued that bail could be granted under Section 437 (when bail may be taken in case of non-bailable offence) of the Code of Criminal Procedure for cases under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. She mentioned that one of the reasons Mr. Raoโ€™s health got better was because he was allowed to meet his family.

The court interrupted, saying the present medical report from the hospital said he was fit to be discharged.

Ms. Jaisingh said his age had to be considered. โ€œThe process has become the punishment.โ€

Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the National Investigation Agency, will commence his arguments on January 27.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Mr. Raoโ€™s wife P. Hemlata, seeking her husband’s immediate release on health grounds.

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