‘Varavara Rao, wife forced to sign punchnama in Marathi’

A relative of poet Varavara Rao on Tuesday accused Pune Police of “forcing” him and his wife Hemalatha to sign a ‘punchnama’ in Marathi language.Varavara Rao was arrested from his residence in Hyderabad by police from Pune and presented before a Nampally criminal court. Police are likely to shift him to Pune.

“Both Rao and his wife Hemalatha don’t know Marathi… they were forced to sign on the punchnama written in Marathi,” journalist N. Venugopal, the son-in-law of Rao, told the media here.According to Venugopal, as per the law the punchnama — a document prepared by police and signed by respectable witnesses — should be in a language the accused is familiar with.

“Without any search warrant, they (police) entered his house, snatched away cell phones. They also disconnected the land line phone and intercom and kept Rao incommunicado for eight hours,” he claimed. As for Rao’s health, Venugopal said: “He is 78-year-old, has so many ailments and needs regular medicines.”