2020-07-16 19:23:00

Mumbai: Jailed poet and activist Varavara Rao, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, has tested positive for COVID-19, a hospital official said on Thursday.

The 80-year-old, lodged in the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai under judicial custody, was admitted to the state-run JJ Hospital here earlier this week.

According to Dr Ranjeet Mankeshwar, dean of JJ Hospital, Rao’s medical report came on Thursday and he was found to be coronavirus positive. “His treatment is going on,” Mankeshwar said.

Rao was shifted to the government-run hospital in south Mumbai after he complained of giddiness.

Rao has been in jail for about 22 months and had earlier approached the special NIA court, seeking bail on medical grounds and the prevailing COVID-19 situation.

Rao’s family members earlier sought the jail authorities to provide him immediate medical care and claimed that when the veteran activist, who hails from Telangana, contacted them last week, he was in a “delirious state and hallucinating”.

In a tweet, Awhad had said, We are extremely worried about Varvara Rao’s health condition.”

“His possession is under Home Ministry of Central Government and not under the Maharashtra Government. We appeal to the Central Government to urgently shift him to a hospital, Awhad had tweeted, tagging Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh.

Earlier, Rao filed two petitions in the Bombay High Court, seeking temporary bail owing to his deteriorating health and a direction to the jail authorities to produce his medical records and admit him to a state-run or private hospital.

Rao and nine other activists have been arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case, which was initially probed by the Pune Police and later transferred to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in January this year.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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