Government ready to shift Varavara to jail ward
The Maharashtra government told Bombay High Court on Thursday that the state was willing to shift jailed poet Varavara Rao to the prison ward of the JJ Hospital in Mumbai from a private facility.
The ailing octogenarian poet-activist, who is an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, is admitted to the Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai.
Earlier this week, the hospital authorities submitted a report in the high court stating that 81-year-old Rao was fit to be discharged.
Once discharged from the Nanavati Hospital, Rao is to be sent back to the Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai, where he is lodged as an undertrial.
On Thursday, state’s counsel Deepak Thakare, however, told the high court that the instructions from the state were that once discharged, Rao could instead be sent to the JJ Hospital’s prison ward.
“His family members will be allowed to visit subject to the protocols, and the treatment which is given in Nanavati will continue,” Thakare told a bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and Manish Pitale. “These are my instructions, the rest is subject to ASG’s (the NIA’s counsel) arguments,” he said.
Thakare said that following the court’s previous suggestion of taking a humane approach considering Rao’s advanced age, the state had taken the above decision.
Earlier during the day’s hearing, senior counsel Indira Jaising had urged the bench to release Rao on bail and let him be with his family.