Updated: January 21, 2021 10:16:01 am
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and state prison authorities on Wednesday assured the Bombay High Court that facilities to protect prisoners from various ailments and diseases have improved and hence, there was no harm in shifting Elgaar Parishad case accused Varavara Rao to the Taloja jail hospital from Nanavati hospital in Mumbai.
A division bench of Justice S S Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale was hearing a plea filed by Rao’s wife Pendyala Hemalatha, seeking his release on bail from the Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai on health grounds.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the NIA, told the HC: “As far as jail conditions are concerned, the authorities are abiding by the earlier judgment of the High Court on a group of petitions filed during the lockdown, where detailed guidelines for jail administrations were issued… and the state has made all improvements as per the directions.”
Singh added that in light of this, the Taloja jail hospital was equipped to monitor Rao’s health and treat him, he added.
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However, senior counsel Anand Grover, appearing for Hemalatha, submitted that the Taloja jail hospital was not equipped, as laboratory technicians were not available. Grover sought that Rao be allowed return home in Hyderabad, where his health could be tracked by two of his family members, who are medical practitioners, as per the recommendation of the doctors.
Following this, the bench asked Grover, “As per the latest Nanavati hospital report, there is a statement, which indicates he (Rao) is capable of self-care… in that case, he needs a particular kind of environment and in that case, he’ll be fit to be discharged. So, do you mean to say that if Rao goes back to jail, he will not have such conditions and would go through the same problems again?”
To this, Grover answered in the affirmative. He added: “Rao needs daily care. If he is sent to Taloja jail, there is a likelihood of deterioration of his condition and he would not even be able to stand trial.” Seeking at least a three-month temporary medical bail for Rao, Grover said that in the meantime, he can report to NIA whenever called.
Following this, the HC directed Grover to file a affidavit on facilities that are not available at the Taloja hospital jail, due to which Rao requires medical bail, so that the bench can verify the claims with the authorities before deciding on the plea.
The HC will continue hearing the plea on Thursday.
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