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Bhima Koregaon: The Supreme Court grants Varavara Rao’s request for bail on medical grounds

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Bhima Koregaon: The Supreme Court grants Varavara Rao's request for bail on medical grounds

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court decided to grant bail to 82-year-old P. Varavara Rao, an accused in the Bhima-Koregaon case, dismissing the NIA’s argument that a UAPA accused cannot be granted release based on his age or his health.

On August 28, 2018, police detained Rao at his Hyderabad home. The Bombay High Court granted him bail on February 22, 2021, citing medical justifications, and the following month he was let out of custody.

The National Investigation Agency had argued against Rao’s Supreme Court request on Monday. The central agency’s inspector general, Santosh Rastogi, claimed that the Bhima Koregaon case investigation revealed Rao was actively pursuing the Communist Party of India (Maoist) organization’s agenda to overthrow the nation’s democratically elected government.

Rao’s date of surrender has been postponed by the High Court every month since last September. The most recent of these extensions was given in April for a duration of three months. However, the court had declined to give him a long-term medical bail so he could receive care.

According to allegations made by a cybersecurity firm with headquarters in the United States in June, the Pune Police hacked electronic devices belonging to Rao and his co-accused Rona Wilson and Hany Wilson in the case.

The activist subsequently entered a plea in front of the Supreme Court, requesting lifelong bail due to his “advancing age and failing health.”

Wilson’s laptop allegedly had at least 10 damning letters on it after an attacker used malware to enter it, according to an allegation made by the American digital forensics firm Arsenal Consulting in February 2021. One of these purported letters to a Maoist fighter discussed the need for weapons and ammunition and even urged the outlawed organisation to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Rao said in his plea before the Supreme Court that given his advanced age and failing health, which are a lethal combination, any more time spent behind bars would be the final straw for him.

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