January 20, 2021 2:55:58 am
The wife of the octogenerian Telugu poet and Elgaar Parishad case accused P Varavara Rao on Tuesday told the Bombay High Court that while Nanavati hospital in Mumbai had said in its January 12 medical report that Rao was fit to be discharged, the hospital in Taloja jail did not have the facilities and wherewithal to closely monitor his health.
Senior counsel Anand Grover, appearing for Rao’s wife Pendyala Hemalatha, sought that Rao should go back to his home in Hyderabad, where his health could be tracked as per the recommendation of the doctors, by two of his family members, who are medical practitioners.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale was hearing a plea filed by Hemalatha seeking Rao’s release on bail from the Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai on health grounds.
The plea said the prison authorities had not been providing Rao appropriate medical attention since 2018. The HC had, on November 18, allowed Rao to seek treatment in Nanavati hospital for 15 days, which was later extended. Rao was shifted to the hospital following the order.
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On January 13, extending Rao’s stay in Nanavati hospital, the HC had asked the National Investigation Agency and the state prison authorities to consider his age and health while asking all parties to maintain a humane approach on the bail plea.
Grover informed the court that while the prison authorities had supplied medical reports of all hospitals since Rao had tested positive for Covid-19 last July, it had not provided the JJ hospital report of May 28, 2020.
He added that all the reports provided to them had confirmed that the Rao had underlying conditions, including urinary tract infection, hypertension, blood pressure, heart issues and low sodium levels among others.
Grover submitted, “Jails are overcrowded. Who is going to take care of all? Moreover, Taloja hospital is not equipped to monitor him (Rao). Not that their staff is ill-equipped, but here are structural problems.”
To this, the bench said, “Look at the influx of people in the jail.”
Grover went on to argue, “Though JJ hospital had earlier discharged him, Rao was to be routinely checked. But Taloja jail hospital did not do that. So, he was sent back to a government hospital. We do not want the public exchequer to be used for this always. Especially when there are two doctors in his house. He suffers from a neurological problem. If he is with his family, he will be in a position to stand for trial. It cannot be that he cannot be closely monitored. If he is not, we cannot say if he will survive or not.”
The hearing will continue on Wednesday.
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