Updated: May 30, 2021 7:39:49 pm
Father Stan Swamy, the 84-year-old Jesuit priest and activist arrested for his alleged involvement in the Elgaar Parishad case, has tested positive for Covid-19.
The High Court had on Friday directed state prison authorities to shift Swamy – who was arrested by the NIA in October last year — from Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai to the private Holy Family Hospital in Bandra for 15 days. Swamy was shifted to Holy Family Hospital late on Friday. He was put in the ICU and on oxygen support and tested for Covid-19.
As per the Taloja jail superintendent, Swamy’s lawyers communicated his Covid-19 positive status on Sunday morning. The jail official said he has sought communication about his health status from the hospital.
After learning of Swamy’s test results, jail officials got two inmates, including co-accused Arun Ferreira, who were Swamy’s attendants in prison, tested. Their antigen test results were negative for Covid.
The jail official said that Swamy was given Covid-19 vaccination at an in-house prison vaccination camp on May 18.
On Friday, Senior Counsel Mihir Desai representing Swamy had told the HC that his client was ready to undergo treatment at Holy Family Hospital and would bear the cost himself. “The health of the appellant is deteriorating and it is necessary to admit him so that he gets proper treatment,” he said.
However, the NIA’s counsel had argued that shifting Swamy to Holy Family hospital may not be necessary as state-run J J Hospital has all facilities to treat him and that an order from the bench allowing admission to the private hospital may undermine the government hospital’s capabilities and set a “wrong precedent”.
However, the HC noted in its order, “It is not in dispute that the appellant’s age is 84 years and according to findings recorded by a team of doctors from JJ hospital, he needs treatment. However, due to the present pandemic situation, and influx of patients, it may not be possible to give attention to the appellant in JJ hospital.”
The court had allowed Father Frazer Mascerenhas, former principal of St Xavier’s College in Mumbai and currently Parish Priest of St. Peter’s Church in Bandra, who is Swamy’s friend, to visit him at the hospital as per the facility’s protocols.
Mascerenhas said, “We are relieved after Fr Swamy was shifted to Holy Family Hospital. His condition had deteriorated at Taloja Jail, but is stable now.”
Mascerenhas said he was informed by the hospital that Swamy was tested for Covid-19 on Saturday but was unaware of the result as he was awaiting an update from the hospital director.
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