Serving Lokpal member Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi, who had tested positive for COVID-19 a month ago, died on Saturday in the national capital after he suffered a cardiac arrest, AIIMS officials confirmed.
Justice Tripathi, 62, was one of three judicial members of Lokpal, the anti-corruption ombudsman, and was admitted to AIIMS Trauma Centre last month after testing positive for coronavirus.
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“It is a personal loss to me. He was a very positive man and always guided me. I have lost a friend,” Lokpal chairperson, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose, told The Indian Express. “My prayers are with the family. It is a loss to our whole Lokpal family.”
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted, “Deeply condole the sad demise of Justice A K Tripathi. He was a distinguished judge of Patna High Court and Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh HC. We had practiced together in Patna HC. Sincere condolences to his wife Alka Tripathi & entire family.”
Justice Tripathi was one of the first COVID-19 patients to be admitted at AIIMS Trauma Centre on April 4. He was on ventilator support for more than a fortnight, sources said.
The hospital had put him off ventilator a few weeks ago after he showed some recovery, but he was again put on ventilator support, it is learnt.
“He was still positive for COVID-19 and at around 9 pm suffered a cardiac arrest,” Dr Amil Lathwal, medical superintendent of AIIMS Trauma Centre, said.
Justice Tripathi was appointed a judicial member of Lokpal in March 2019. He also served as the Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court from July 7, 2018 till March 26, 2019. Justice Tripathi, who had earlier served as the Additional Advocate General for Bihar, was elected Additional Judge of Patna High Court in October 2006.
The Supreme Court collegium elevated Justice Tripathi as the permanent judge in November 2011. Justice Tripathi, before his elevation to higher judiciary, served as the standing counsel to the Union of India and the I-T Department, among others.