NIA Court Grants Political Prisoner Varavara Rao Permission To Travel For Eye Surgery For 2nd Time

Mumbai, November 29, 2023: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) court of special judge Rajesh Kataria has allowed Telugu poet and political prisoner Dr P. Varavara Rao to travel to Hyderabad to undergo cataract surgery on his left eye.

Rao, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case along with 15 other activists and academics, has been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

After being incarcerated for four years, the 82-year-old Rao was granted medical bail by the Supreme Court on August 10 last year.

His bail conditions included prohibition from leaving the city limits of Mumbai without the express permission of the NIA court.

On October 23, the Bombay High Court granted Rao permission to travel to Hyderabad for a week to undergo cataract surgery.

Rao had approached the high court after the NIA court rejected his plea on September 23 last year.

In his application, Rao had averred that travelling to Hyderabad would allow him to undergo surgery free of charge since the cost of the surgery in private hospitals in Mumbai was unaffordable.

A division Bench of the high court comprising Justices A.S. Gadkari and S.C. Chandak had directed Rao to approach the NIA court for surgery for the other eye, after returning to Mumbai following the first surgery.

Today, the NIA court allowed Rao to undergo surgery at the Sarojini Devi Eye Hospital in Hyderabad from December 5 to 11.

The court directed Rao to follow certain bail conditions.

Firstly, Rao is required to report to the NIA on December 4 (prior to leaving Mumbai for Hyderabad) and furnish details of his travel journey and the address and contact number of the place where he will be staying in Hyderabad.

Secondly, the court directed Rao to inform the NIA about the date fixed for the appointment by the concerned doctor in writing before leaving Mumbai. Rao is also directed to report to the NIA on December 12 after returning to Mumbai.

Thirdly, Rao was permitted to reside at the address approved by the high court under its Order dated October 23.

Fourthly, the NIA directed Rao to follow the bail conditions imposed on Rao by the Supreme Court while granting medical bail on August 10 last year; by the high court in its Order of October 23; and by the NIA court on August 18 last year.

The Supreme Court had directed Rao not to leave Mumbai without the express permission of the NIA court. Besides, it had directed Rao to ensure he does not misuse his liberty, stay away from his co-accused, and not influence the witnesses and investigation in the case.

The Bench had allowed Rao to seek medical attention of his choice, but he is required to keep the NIA apprised of any such development.

Source :