Kamal Ansari, a death row convict in the 2006 Mumbai blasts case, died of Covid-19 here on Monday.
Ansari, aged about 52 years, was lodged in Nagpur’s central prison since 2015, when he was convicted of involvement in the train bombings case in Mumbai’s Sakri area. Ansari,a resident of Madhubani in Bihar, was one of the 12 men convicted in 2015 for the Mumbai serial train blasts, which occurred on July 11, 2006.
“He died at 1 am on Monday at the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), where he was admitted on April 9,” Prison Superintendent Anup Kumre told The Indian Express.
Kumre added, “Ansari had developed mild symptoms like cough and cold on April 8. So we had conducted an RT-PCR test for him and some other inmates too on April 9. As the test report comes a day later, we decided to admit him in GMCH on April 9 itself.”
Kumre said that Ansari did not have any co-morbidity.
When pointed out that Ansari’s family had alleged negligence by jail authorities, Kumre said, “There was absolutely no negligence. We admitted him to GMCH even before his Covid test report could arrive.”
When pointed out that considering paucity of beds, there was little chance of the GMCH authorities admitting anyone for Covid-19 treatment even before his/her test report could arrive, Kumre said, “We shifted him there as a general patient. They must have conducted rapid antigen test on him before admitting him for Covid-19 treatment.”
He added, “We had also taken the other Covid-positive inmates to the GMCH later, but the authorities had sent them back after checking their basic parameters. We subsequently treated them in jail.”
Kumre said that Ansari’s body cannot be handed over to his family as per the Covid-19 protocol. Asked about the possible cause of death, Kumre said, “As per the protocol, a post-mortem cannot be conducted, so we don’t know the exact cause of the death. But the death has been recorded as a Covid death.”
Kumre also said, “I was told his mother and daughter have come to the city but they didn’t contact me.”
The special court had sentenced Ansari to the death sentence along with four others. Wahid Shaikh, Ansari’s co-accused in the trial, who was acquitted in 2015, said that he had last spoken to his mother on April 2 over the phone and had asked her to take precautions with the rise in Covid-19 cases.
He said that his family was not informed by the jail authorities regarding Ansari himself contracting the virus and being taken to the civic hospital in Nagpur on April 9 but they came to know of his hospitalisation through another prisoner’s relatives. His family claimed before the jail authorities that the death had been caused due to negligence and sought an inquiry.
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