The Bombay High Court last week asked a magistrate court in Mumbai to hear and decide on April 15 an interim bail plea seeking the release of former Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank director Jaswinder Singh Banwait, an accused in the alleged bank fraud case, on health grounds in wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
Citing Supreme Court directions to release prisoners to decongest overcrowded jails, Banwait, incarcerated in Taloja Jail in Navi Mumbai, sought relief on the ground that he suffered from several ailments, including acute diabetes.
The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai Police had arrested Banwait on March 12. It had alleged that Banwait was a director and member of the bank’s Loan, Investment and Executive Committee when the alleged Rs 4,355-crore scam involving Housing Development and Infrastructure Limited took place.
Through video-conference, Justice Gautam S Patel on April 10 heard the plea, filed by advocate Pritesh Burad, who said that he had approached various authorities in the police hierarchy for supply of medicines to his client but hasn’t received a positive response.
Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare, however, said that he will immediately issue instructions to the jail authorities to allow regular supply of medicines to Banwait. Opposing the bail plea, he added that similar applications by some other accused have been turned down by the sessions court.
Justice Patel suggested that medicines be supplied on a regular basis. “I can only stress that medicines for diabetes must be taken regularly because there can be very severe consequences if those are not taken at the prescribed times and in the prescribed dosages. His medical condition may perhaps also impose certain dietary conditions. At this stage, we do know what these are,” the court said.
To this, Burad submitted that Banwait had filed a regular bail plea before the magistrate court and pressed for allowing him access to home food.
After hearing the submissions, Justice Patel requested the magistrate court in Mumbai to take up Banwait’s interim bail plea on April 15 and preferably to pass an order the same day.
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