Activist Varavara Rao Gets Bail in 2016 Iron Ore Mine Arson Case

Rao was granted interim bail for six months on medical grounds by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court.

Published
India
2 min read
Rao was granted interim bail for six months on medical grounds by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court. Image used for representation.
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The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday, 23 February, granted interim bail to activist Varavara Rao in the 2016 Surjagarh Iron Ore Mine Arson case. Rao was given the bail on medical grounds.

82-year-old Rao and and advocate Surendra Gadling were arrested by the Gadchiroli police in Maharashtra in February 2019 in connection with the case.

Earlier, on Monday, 22 February, Rao was granted interim bail by the principal bench of the Bombay High Court on similar grounds in the Elgar Parishad case.

Rao's lawyers, Firdos Mirza and Nihalsingh Rathod, argued that Rao was seeking bail purely on medical grounds and not on the basis of the merits of the iron ore mine arson case.

Rao is suffering from several ailments, including dementia, his lawyers said.

“We pointed out to the court here (Nagpur) that the order passed by the division bench of Justices SS Shinde and Manish Pitale on Monday, granting Rao interim bail for six months after considering his health condition,” Mirza told PTI.

In the iron ore mine arson case too, Rao has been granted bail for the same period.

On 25 December 25 2016, Naxals allegedly set ablaze at least 80 vehicles engaged in transporting iron ore from Surjagarh mines in Etapalli tehsil of Gadchiroli.

Rao, who is currently admitted in the Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai, had also sought bail on medical grounds in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, which is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

The case pertains to the alleged inflammatory speeches made at the 'Elgar Parishad' conclave held in Pune on 31 December 2017, which, the police claimed triggered violence the next day near the Bhima-Koregaon war memorial located on the outskirts of Pune.

The police have claimed the conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links. Rao is accused of serious offences under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in the case.

While granting him interim bail, the Bombay High Court's division bench imposed several conditions on Rao, including restricting him from leaving Mumbai and prohibiting him from establishing any contact with the co-accused in the case.

The High Court said after the end of the six-month period, Rao shall either surrender before the special NIA court in Mumbai or file an application before HC seeking extension of the same.

(With inputs from PTI)

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