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Thursday, June 17, 2021

BJP MP won’t be treated above law if found guilty: Bombay High Court

However, the HC refused a prayer seeking registration of the FIR by the court itself.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
May 6, 2021 2:09:39 am
Bombay High Court, Maharashtra, hospital fire, Covid-19 treatment in Maharashtra, Mumbai news, indian expressThe Bombay High Court. (File)

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Ahmednagar Police to initiate steps in accordance with criminal law on a complaint alleging “illegal” and “secret” procurement and distribution of remdesivir injections by BJP MP Dr Sujay Vikhe-Patil, saying that the Parliamentarian would be not be treated above law if found guilty.

However, the HC refused a prayer seeking registration of the FIR by the court itself. If the informants or complainants are aggrieved by the manner of probe or have material to show that police authorities are protecting the accused, they can approach the HC seeking relief, a division bench of Justice Ravindra V Ghuge and Justice Bhalchandra U Debadwar said.

Vikhe-Patil had landed in a controversy on April 24 after putting out videos and pictures on social media showing him in a chartered flight, landing at Shirdi airport and unloading boxes of remdesivir – an anti-viral drug used in Covid treatment.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Arun Kadu, an agriculturist from Rahuri, along with three others through advocates Pradnya S Talekar and Ajinkya Kale, alleging illegal distribution of the drug by the MP. Alleging a scam, the petitioners had sought registration of FIR and investigation into the matter by a superior probe agency or under a retired HC judge.

“We find it pragmatic not to rush to any conclusions or become judgmental in view of the time-space in filing the first complaint and lodging this writ petition,” the HC said and observed that remedies available to the complainant are not exhausted yet.

The court further said the police are capable of exercising their powers to deal with complaints seeking registration of offences against bureaucrats, allegedly indulging in forgery of documents in current proceedings, and disposed of the plea.

The petitioners had also filed application to amend the plea to bring forth similar instances, as reported by The Indian Express, of politicians from several parties selling or distributing the drug directly to people. However, the court noted that specific complaints were yet to be filed by the petitioners and that it cannot take cognisance of the issue without such complaints. Once complaints are made, the police can probe in accordance with the law, it added and disposed the application as withdrawn.

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