Elgar Parishad case: HC notice to NIA on Varavara Rao plea to travel for cataract surgeries

Elgar Parishad case: HC notice to NIA on Varavara Rao plea to travel for cataract surgeries

The Bombay HC was hearing Mr Rao’s plea challenging the special court’s order rejecting his plea to travel to Hyderabad for three months.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, January 05, 2023, 11:23 PM IST
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Elgar Parishad case: HC notice to NIA on Varavara Rao plea to travel for cataract surgeries | File Photo - PTI

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court (HC) has issued a notice to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on a plea by Telugu poet Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, seeking permission to travel to Hyderabad to undergo cataract surgery in both his eyes.

Justice RG Avachat was hearing Mr Rao’s plea challenging the special court’s order rejecting his plea to travel to Hyderabad for three months. The HC has kept the matter for hearing on Jan 16.

Court: Stay within limits of Greater Mumbai

On Aug 10, 2022, the Supreme Court had granted Mr Rao permanent medical bail but directed him to stay within the limits of Greater Mumbai. The court however, granted him liberty to approach the NIA court concerned for permission to go to Hyderabad. 

The special court rejected his plea stating he could undergo the surgery in Mumbai and that the arguments for discharge plea are going on. 

His plea contends that the special court failed to consider that he is 82 years old and he needs to get cataract surgery for which the appropriate place is Hyderabad. Mr Rao has contended that if he doesn’t undergo surgery he may suffer serious repercussions, including vision impairment. 

Considering that Mr Rao is a pensioner of the State Government of Telangana, he can get the treatment in Hyderabad for free. Also, his family members are doctors, one of whom is an ophthalmologist and can provide better care, states the plea. Further, he has said that his experience with government hospitals in Mumbai has been abysmal and private hospitals are too costly. 

The octogenarian has said that he has not filed a discharge application. Rejecting permission to travel to Hyderabad on this ground is sheer abuse of process.

His plea points out that till Oct 10, 2022, only one of the six discharge pleas was heard by the special court. The prosecution would then reply to it. The entire exercise will be very time consuming, which would take at least three months. By then his treatment would be complete. He further pointed out that till date, he has never misused the liberty granted to him. 

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