Varavara Rao, Shoma Sen
Varavara Rao, Shoma Sen

Mumbai: A special NIA court, on Friday, rejected the interim bail pleas of 81-year-old poet Varavara Rao and Professor Shoma Sen, both accused in the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case.

Sen, 61, is lodged at Byculla jail and Rao, 81, at Taloja Central Prison, presently. They had sought temporary bail on the grounds of the COVID-19 pandemic for a period as thought appropriate by court.

In similar bail applications, both had 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 had said in his bail plea that he is 81 years of age and suffers from multiple ailments.

The NIA’s Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Shetty had opposed their bail pleas stating that their bail pleas on merit have been rejected by the Pune Sessions Court, where the matter was being conducted earlier. Shetty had also told the court that the Supreme Court’s directions on letting undertrials on interim bail was not applicable to Sen and Rao, as its directions are applicable to the offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), whereas they have been booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). He had argued further that they have not produced any medical documents to support their claims in the bail pleas.

Recently, Rao had been hospitalised in JJ hospital with complaints of dizziness and discharged some days later. His family had said that he had fallen unconscious in Taloja prison where he was under the observation of jail doctors.

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