Hyderabad: Former Central Information commissioners Shailesh Gandhi and Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyulu have written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackerey calling for the release of revolutionary writer and activist Varavara Rao. The 80-year-old writer has been in judicial custody since the past 18 months for an alleged attempt to murder on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with the Bhima Koregaon case.
The ex-government officials said that there is a lack of evidence to prove these charges against Varavara Rao. While the Pune police and the state investigation teams have probed into the case for around 16 weeks and failed to provide evidence, the case being taken over by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) has stalled the release of the activist. “So far, there has been no progress in investigation against Varavara Rao and this was reported by the NIA also,” the letter said.
The former CICs also wrote that “constitutionally and practically, the state of Maharashtra is more eligible and equipped to deal with this local case, rather than any central investigation agency.” They further pointed out that the revolutionary writer has been suffering from severe health issues even before his arrest, such as, thyroid issue, prostate gland enlargement, coronary artillery issue, acidity and migraine synthesis, and that keeping him in custody is worsening his health condition. Reportedly, Varavara Rao had fallen unconscious on May 28, and was shifted to JJ hospital in Mumbai.
The letter further addressed the Covid-19 pandemic and how it affects prisoners. “There are already 3,600 inmates in Taloja prison, which has a capacity of just 2,100, including Varavara Rao, who because of advanced age and ill-health is more vulnerable to get infected by Covid-19. In addition, he is being given just one bucket of water per day, which can hardly be enough to keep himself hygienic, which aggravates the risk of Coronavirus attack,” the ex-officials mentioned.
In addition to this, the family members of Varavara rao are unable to get more information on his health status, the letter said. The letter asks officials to facilitate video conferencing with wife and daughters, and disclose complete details of his medical conditions, diagnostic reports, which needs to be submitted to court, so as to secure bail.