The Bombay High Court has accepted the state government’s request to re-verify a report submitted by it pertaining to the health status of Mahesh Raut (33), an accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, and make a statement before the court during next hearing on his plea seeking a Covid-19 test. It comes after Raut’s lawyer, advocate Vijay Hiremath, questioned the credibility of his client’s medical report submitted on August 3 by Taloja Central Prison.
Hiremath had pointed out that the health parameters mentioned on Raut’s report were identical to the medical report of activist Anand Teltumbde (68), a co-accused in the case, who is also lodged in the Taloja jail.
In July, Raut had moved the HC seeking a Covid-19 test. The plea also stated that he was suffering from a high fever and diarrhoea and had come in close contact with co-inmate and co-accused Varavara Rao, who had tested positive for Covid-19 on July 16 and has been undergoing treatment at Nanavati hospital. The plea stated that Raut had requested jail authorities and medical officers to test him for the virus, however, authorities refused. The state government then sought to file a report pertaining Raut’s health.
On July 30, Teltumbde underwent a Covid-19 test. On August 5, Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare informed the court that the test reports would be placed on record following the court’s directive to the state government to inform his family members.
On the same day, the division bench of Justice R D Dhanuka and Justice V G Bisht was hearing Raut’s plea, when advocate Hiremath pointed out that the two separate medical reports submitted by Taloja jail, through its chief medical officer, bore identical findings on several parameters — weight, height, oxygen levels, BMI and blood pressure — for Teltumbde and Raut. Hiremath said the report did not appear to belong to his client.
In its report, the Taloja jail authority stated that Raut was tested on July 30 and was found to be negative. In Teltumbde’s report, it stated, that he was also tested on July 30 and had developed antibodies. Teltumbde’s report further read: “Suggestive of infection in the past, at present, health condition of said petitioner [Teltumbde] is stable and satisfactory and for his ailment, treatment is available in this prison hospital and taking all necessary care and providing him all necessary medicine.”
The HC has granted the state time to file a response and is likely to hear Raut’s plea next week.
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