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Opinion

Maharashtra government says Varavara Rao is ‘fully conscious’, HC seeks reports

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The Bombay High Court on Tuesday ordered the Maharashtra government to provide details of the medical examination of the poet P Varavara Rao, arrested in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case.

The instructions were issued after lead attorney Indira Jaising informed the court that the reports released to the 81-year-old man’s family on Tuesday afternoon had no details of the tests performed and lacked his neurology and urology reports.

In its report released on Tuesday, the Maharashtra government said that Rao is “fully aware and oriented.”

Jaising said the one-page report provided by the government via WhatsApp had no information about Rao’s dementia and urinary tract infection.

Calling it “an eye wash,” Jaising claimed that the state government was resorting to delaying tactics. Rao is in critical condition, he said, adding that he should be taken to hospital.

Rao is currently on trial at Taloja Prison in Navi Mumbai.

Jaising told the bench of the SS Shinde and Madhav Jamdar Judges Division that the government had failed to comply with court orders ordering Nanavati Hospital, where Rao was treated in July, to conduct a check on Rao and submit a report to the court, along with his wife and the NIA.

Jaising told the bank that doctors at Nanavati Hospital who had examined Rao on November 12 via video link had also suggested that he be given further tests, including a complete blood count and an ultrasound of the abdomen.

“The state has yet to get tested. Furthermore, the doctors examined Rao via the video link for only 15 minutes. It needs to be examined by specialists. A neurologist needs to physically examine him and these tests cannot be done at the Taloja prison hospital, ”Jaising said.

“… Rao was not examined by a specialist, so how can the video examination tell this court if he needs to be transferred from prison to hospital?” she said.

Since his arrest in June 2018, Rao has been in and out of the government-run JJ hospital in the city. On July 16, he tested positive for coronavirus, after which he was transferred to Nanavati hospital. He was discharged on July 30 and sent back to Taloja prison, Jaising said.

Rao’s wife has requested that the poet be transferred to Nanavati Hospital in Mumbai, due to his “deterioration of his physical and neurological health”.

The court ordered the state government to provide a detailed report and has released the hearing for Wednesday.

(With contributions from the agency)

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