The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday, January 27, urged the Bombay High Court to dismiss a plea filed by poet and activist Varavara Rao, alleging that the 81-year-old is not suffering from dementia and can take care of himself.
The Bombay HC was hearing a plea filed by Rao's wife P Hemalatha who has been seeking bail for him on medical grounds, Scroll.in reported.
Rao is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case was arrested in 2018 and booked under the strict lawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The activist who suffers from multiple illnesses is currently admitted to Mumbai's Nanavati Hospital.
"It is pertinent to note that our neurologist has certified that the patient has normal cognitive functions, which indicate he is capable of self-care. Based on the clinical parameters and bedside testing, it is apparent he does not have dementia. However, to rule out dementia completely we need to do detailed neuropsychological testing for the patient," a report by Nanavati Hospital read.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh said cited Maharashtra government's earlier statement before the High Court, which read, "once discharged from the private hospital, Rao will not be sent back to the Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai. Instead, he will be admitted to the prison ward of state-run JJ Hospital and given requisite medical care"
"Therefore, the question of granting him bail arises only if the court doesn't have faith in the care that the JJ Hospital will be able to provide," Singh told the HC bench.
"Go through the JJ Hospital report, it talks about dementia," Justice Shinde said. "Once it is there...maybe it continues in a lesser form."
"Just see how many tablets he takes in a day," Justice Shinde told Singh. "The Nanavati report will show he's on continuous medical support. Medical assistance is necessary."
The NIA also argued that the medicines being given to Rao are age-related. "Like blood thinners, acidity...it is not their case that he is being given some medicine for dementia," Singh said. He further said that bail cannot be given "on a hypothetical situation".
Senior advocate Anand Grover, appearing for Rao, said that the activist had complained of chest pain twice and the doctors at Nanavati Hospital had informed him and his nephew that there was a leakage in the valve going into his heart.
The bench then ordered the hospital to submit a fresh report on Rao's health condition and adjourned the case for Thursday.