Dr Ranjit Mankeshwar, dean of JJ hospital in Mumbai, has confirmed that ‘activist’ Varavara Rao, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, has tested positive for the coronavirus. According to reports, Rao, who is also accused of planning the assassination of PM Modi and in a 2005 Maoist attack case, was shifted to the hospital after he complained of giddiness on Monday. He has been keeping unwell for a while. After testing positive, the 81-year-old was shifted to the JJ Hospital in the city.
Varavara Rao Monday approached Bombay HC for bail, but was denied relief
Rao on Monday had approached the Bombay High Court seeking temporary bail owing to his deteriorating medical condition and the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic but was denied relief by the court.
The family members of Rao, who has been in jail for the last 22 months, had expressed concern about his worsening health condition.
Cases against ‘activist’ Rao
In July 2019, Karnataka police took Bhima Koregaon case accused Varavara Rao into custody in connection with a 2005 Maoist attack case registered at Tirumani and sent him to the Mumbai prison. He was already in judicial custody at Yerwada jail in relation to the Bhima Koregaon case.
In November 2018, Rao, and nine others were arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case, which was initially probed by the Pune police and later transferred to the National Investigation Agency in January. The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017, which triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial located on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.
The police have also claimed the conclave was organised by people with alleged Maoist links.