The Bombay High Court has granted interim bail for six months to poet Varavara Rao on medical grounds. Rao (82) is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case and is currently undergoing treatment at Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai.
The Bombay HC bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale issued an order that Rao must be discharged from the hospital depending on his health condition and be released on bail after discharge.
The court has also put some conditions on Rao’s bail. The court has asked Rao to remain in Mumbai and be available for investigation as and when needed. The court also directed Rao to surrender his passport before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court. The court added that he is not allowed to make contact with any of the co-accused in the case. He must furnish a personal bond of Rs 50,000 and two sureties of the same amount.
The HC said if it did not grant Rao medical bail, it would be abdicating its duty to protect the principles of human rights and a citizen's fundamental rights to life and health.
Rao is in custody since August 28, 2018, and has been awaiting trial ever since. On January 1, 2018, violence broke out in Bhima Koregaon village in Pune which left one dead and several injured including 10 police officers. Violence erupted after some people, reportedly with saffron flags, pelted stones at cars heading for the commemoration of the 200 years of Bhima-Koregaon war on January 1. Rao along with Rona Wilson, Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha and Stan Swamy were taken into custody alleging their role in the violence.
Earlier this month, a US digital forensics firm has said that the laptop belonging to Wilson was compromised for over 22 months. Following this revelation, Wilson moved the Bombay High Court seeking the quashing of criminal proceedings against him.
US-based Washington Post first reported the findings of the Massachusetts-based digital forensics firm – Arsenal Consulting. In a report, Arsenal Consulting said that hackers “planted” 10 incriminating letters in Wilson’s laptop using malware or malicious software.
Wilson was not the only victim. According to the report, a series of suspicious emails were sent from the account of Varavara Rao, who is co-accused in the case. The firm said that someone used Rao’s account to send a phishing mail to Wilson.