May 18, 2021 4:32:43 am
The Supreme Court on Monday directed that rebel YSRCP MP Kanumuri Raghurama Krishnam Raju, who was arrested last week by Andhra Pradesh CID on sedition charges and allegedly assaulted in custody, be medically examined at the Army Hospital in Secunderabad, Telangana, and admitted there for medical care.
A vacation bench of Justices Vineet Saran and B R Gavai also directed that the medical examination be conducted by a “medical board of three doctors of the hospital to be constituted by the head of the Army Hospital… in the presence of a judicial officer, who may be nominated by the Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court”.
Proceedings of the medical examination, the bench said, shall be videographed and submitted to the Registrar General of the Telangana High Court in a sealed cover to be passed on to the Supreme Court.
Appearing for the state government, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave said Raju be sent to the Army Hospital only for medical examination and not for treatment or hospitalisation. But the court rejected this and directed that the MP “shall be admitted in the Army Hospital and kept there for medical care until further orders, which shall be treated as judicial custody of the petitioner….”. It said expenses, if any, for hospitalisation shall be borne by Raju.
The court asked the Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary “to carry out this order forthwith and ensure that… Raju is taken to and reaches the Army Hospital, Secunderabad, Telangana today itself”.
The MP from Narasapuram had approached the Supreme Court, challenging the May 15 Andhra Pradesh High Court order asking him to approach the sessions court for bail.
In his appeal against the order rejecting his bail plea, Raju, a critic of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, said the state government had asked the DIG of Police, CID, Amaravathi, to conduct an inquiry into his “actions in addressing the print and electronic media accusing failure of the Chief Minister and his government in dealing with Covid-related issues”. He said he was arrested on the basis of the DIG’s report, which said he was “indulging in hate speeches against certain communities and promoting disaffection against the government…”.
The MP claimed the case against him was borne out of “political vendetta” as he had been critical of the government.
Appearing for the MP, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi submitted that the matter was of “extradordinary proportion”. Raju, he said, is a sitting MP of the ruling party in the state and “he has been critical of the party for some time now”. Last year, he had to move the Delhi High Court for additional security due to threats from party members, he added. Rohatgi also said the Magistrate before whom Raju was presented had recorded that there were injuries on his feet.
Dave said the state did not have any objection if Raju was examined again by an independent central government hospital in the presence of a judicial officer and suggested AIIMS Mangalagiri, Andhra Pradesh or Manipal Hospital. Rohatgi, however, disagreed with both options and requested that Raju be sent to AIIMS, New Delhi for medical examination at his own expense.
Appearing for the Centre, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said he had no objection to the AIIMS proposal. The court, however, suggested Army Hospital, to which all parties agreed.
The court also said the Y Category security personnel Raju is entitled to will escort him “only till the Army Hospital and need not be present at the time of medical examination”.
The court said it was not going into the merits of the allegations made in the FIR and the submissions made in that regard at present as it is concerned with Raju’s medical condition about which there is a reference in the Magistrate’s order. The Magistrate had noted that the MP had undergone bypass surgery in December 2020.
The bench gave the state two days to file its reply and fixed the matter for hearing next on May 21.
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