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Varavara Rao Can Be Sent Back to Prison, He Has No Dementia: NIA Submits Before Bombay High Court

Varavara Rao Can Be Sent Back to Prison, He Has No Dementia: NIA Submits Before Bombay High Court
Varavara Rao is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case. He was arrested along with several other activists in 2018 and charged under stringent sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967.

He is currently recuperating in Nanavati Hospital. While the prosecution – the National Investigation Agency – wants the court to rely on the last available medical report from the Nanavati Super-specialty hospital, which doesn't mention dementia as an ailment for Rao, his lawyers are relying on a report from a government hospital from last year which mentions 'dementia,' as well as Nanavati hospital's latest report which says additional tests need to be conducted to conclusively rule out dementia. 

According to Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh, representing the NIA, Rao can be sent to the prison ward of Sir JJ Hospital, as the Nanavati report pronounces him to be fit enough to be able to take care of himself. He is relying on the same Nanavati Hospital report to say that dementia cannot be ruled out.

During the hearing on Wednesday, 27 January 2021 Singh argued that the State had agreed shift Rao to Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital in November itself, and the court has repeatedly recorded Rao's lawyers' satisfaction with and treatment given. 

Referring to the last report of the hospital, which states that Rao is hemodynamically stable and fit to be discharged, Singh said, The last report of Nanavati shows he has been doing well clinically, his vitals are stable and treatment is continued. Justice Shinde then asked Singh to look at a report by JJ Hospital from several months ago which mentions that Rao suffers from dementia. 

Senior advocate Indira Jaising said it was the St. George Hospital discharge summary which mentions dementia. Singh argued that the St. George Hospital report is not a finding by an expert body. The court then asked Singh to see the long list of medicines Rao is currently consuming at Nanavati Hospital. Mr. Thakre is saying he will be kept with 20 other prisoners in JJ Hospital.

Justice Pitale then pointed out another report from Taloja Prison Hospital from November which mentions, cerebral atrophy . Grover read the relevant part of the Nanavati Hospital report. He said that the Hospital's observations were based on Rao's visible symptoms but it was only neuro psychological test could completely rule out dementia. As for the State's suggestion to shift Rao to JJ Hospital considering the apprehension about the lack of infrastructure in Taloja, Grover said it wasn't even an option.

So the choice is whether Rao would be shifted to Taloja Prison or home after his discharge from Nanavati hospital. A patient like Varavara Rao is more likely to fall ill at JJ Hospital.

The bench then directed the hospital to submit a fresh report on Rao's heath condition and adjourned the case for Thursday, 28th January, 2021.


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