Hyderabad: The National Investigation Agency (NIA), probing Bhima-Koregaon case, has summoned revolutionary Telugu poet Varavara Rao's two sons-in-law as witnesses.
The agency has asked English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) professor K. Satyanarayana and senior journalist K.V. Kurmanath to appear before it in Mumbai on September 9.
The duo has been summoned as witnesses under sections 91 and 160 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
"NIA notice adds to our family distress at the time when Varavara Rao's health condition is not very good and the pandemic is fast spreading in Mumbai. I was summoned to Mumbai in these terrible times," said Satyanarayana.
He recalled that the Pune Police had raided his flat in August 2018 on the pretext of collecting evidence against Varavara Rao. "I stated then that I was in no way connected to the Bhima Koregaon case. The fact of Varavara Rao being my father-in-law was used to raid my house and cause mental agony," he said.
"It is a fact that I am related to Varavara Rao but I reiterate that I have no connection with the Bhima Koregaon case," he added.
Satyanarana, who is also a writer and anti-caste activist, edited several books on Dalit culture and history.
Earlier, NIA had arrested Prof. Hani Babu of Delhi University in connection with the case. Related to the same case, the agency sent a summons on Friday to Professor Partho Sarothi Ray of Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata.
Maharashtra Police had arrested Varavara Rao in August 2018 in connection with the Bhima Koregaon clashes of January that year and shifted him to Pune. The same day Pune Police had conducted raids on some other activists across the country for their alleged links with Maoists.
Following an order by the Supreme Court, Varavara Rao was brought back to Hyderabad and kept under house arrest.
However, in November 17 the same year, police arrested him and took him to Pune on allegations that he was part of a group that allegedly conspired to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Varavara Rao, who was jailed in Taloja prison in Navi Mumbai since then, last month tested positive for Covid-19 and was admitted to the Nanavati Hospital on July 16. He was discharged from hospital and sent back to jail on August 28.
Varavara Rao's family members here say they were not informed about the discharge from the hospital and his condition. They alleged that his condition continued to be fragile.
Earlier, on May 28, the Telugu poet fell unconscious and was taken to Sir J.J. Hospital. He was discharged on June 1.
The NIA court rejected Rao's bail petitions on several occasions. The family had also appealed to the government to release him in view of his deteriorating health.
In May, a group of poets from different languages, including Gulzar, had sought the immediate release of Varvara Rao in view of the health emergency in the country.