Varavara Rao walks out of hospital on temporary bail

Bhima Koregaon case accused and revolutionary poet Varavara Rao walked out of Nanavati hospital in Mumbai on temporary bail on Saturday midnight. The 82-year-old was granted bail by Bombay High Court for six months on medical grounds.

“Free at last”, senior Supreme Court lawyer Indira Jaising tweeted with a photo of Rao smiling. He had been in custody since 28 August 2018 for Bhima Koregaon case under draconian UAPA charges in which trial has not yet started.

Journalists, activist, lawyers and academicians including Father Stan Swami, Gautam Navlakha, Rona Wilson, Hany Babu etc are jailed in Bhima Koregaon case which has been criticised for framing dissenters.

The case probed by the National Investigation Agency, involves allegations of provocative speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017.

The Court granted bail for a period of six months upon furnishing of bail bond of Rs. 50,000.

“We feel that with the condition of the under trial, it would be inappropriate to send him back (to jail),” the Bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale ruled on 22 February.

Many rights groups have been campaigning for months demanding release of Varavara Rao who suffered from dementia last year. Rao was hospitalized after tested positive for Covid-19 last year.