Varavara Rao
Varavara Rao

Mumbai: A sessions court dealing with urgent matters on Monday heard the temporary bail pleas of civil society activists Shoma Sen and Varavara Rao accused in the Elgar Parishad case.

Sen, 61 and Rao, 80 are both lodged at Taloja Central Prison presently. They sought temporary bail on the grounds of the coronavirus pandemic for a period as the court thought appropriate.

In similar bail applications, both told court that older people like themselves with underlying conditions are more prone to the infection. Sen said that she has osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, glaucoma and was vulnerable to the virus. Rao said in his bail plea that he is 80 years of age and suffers from multiple ailments. His bail application mentioned that he had already written to the jail superintendent of Taloja jail earlier in the month. In the application he had requested a separate confinement as he was already a patient of respiratory problems and was suffering suffocation.

The National Investigation Agency’s Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Shetty opposed their bail pleas on the basis that their bail pleas on merit have been rejected by the Pune sessions court where the matter was being conducted earlier. Shetty also told court that the Supreme Court’s directions on letting undertrials on interim bail were not applicable to Sen and Rao as the apex court’s directions are applicable for offences under the IPC whereas they have been booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). He also argued that they have not produced any medical documents to support their claims in the bail pleas.

The court is likely to pass orders on Tuesday.

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