PMLA court orders special care for Wadhawan

New Delhi: A Maharashtra court has ordered the hospitalization of Rakesh Kumar Wadhawan – in Mumbai Central Jail on more money laundering charges since 2019 – noting that getting proper medical help is a right of one prisoner on trial.

India time reported that a special court of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act ordered Wadhawan, who is 69, to be transferred to JJ Hospital. The court also requested that a ward boy be appointed to look after the wheelchair-bound prisoner around the clock.

Director of Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL), Wadhawan was arrested in 2019 during the investigation into the bankrupt property company’s dealings with the Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank.

According to reports, PMC used thousands of fictitious accounts to conceal loans it made to HDIL, resulting in a loss of at least Rs 4,355 crore. Rakesh’s son, Sarang, was also arrested.

Special Judge MG Deshpande said that while the Enforcement Branch’s case would not suffer if Wadhawan’s request to be transferred to hospital was granted, if such a request is denied, it “will leave the applicant to the mercy of God without recognizing his rights as a prisoner under trial.

“The court cannot become a silent spectator and ignore the applicant’s precarious health. Therefore, I am of the view that the plaintiff’s immediate hospitalization is necessary from the standpoint of the paramount consideration of his medical conditions, which will be the appropriate response to his condition,” the special judge said, according to the YOU report.

The court also observed that the Law Enforcement Branch’s assertion that prison staff were capable of treating Wadhawan was unsubstantiated given that the Chief Medical Officer of Arthur Road Prison had stated that Wadhawan needed essential nursing and care, was unable to stand without support, and required the intervention of several super specialists.

Sarang, Wadhawan’s son who is incarcerated with him, had also said that it was difficult for him to manage his father’s care alone in prison.

“I strongly believe that even special medical advice is not required to take account of the claimant’s precarious health and condition. If the claimant is admitted to Sir JJ Hospital…at least he will receive the care , nursing and advice from several super specialists,” the court said, according to YOU.

Wadhawan, according to reports, is suffering from serious health problems.

Earlier in 2022, Wadhawan moved the High Court to Bombay so he could undergo bypass surgery at Kokilaben Ambani Hospital. The court granted his request.

“It is made clear that this order is not made on the merits of the case and is made having regard to the high risk to which the plaintiff is exposed, owing to his state of health,” the High Court said in ruling on the request, according to Indian Express.

Mumbai prisons’ treatment of prisoners needing medical assistance while awaiting trial often makes headlines. In the recent past, demands for basic medical care by activists, academics and lawyers – who have been held up for what the National Investigation Agency says is their connection to the Elgar Parishad case – have highlighted highlight the crucial shortcomings of the prison system when it comes to sick prisoners.

One of Elgar Parishad’s 16 defendants, Father Stan Swamy, died last year. His relatives accused the authorities of the central prison in Taloja, where he was imprisoned, of gross medical negligence.

Just a day ago, after Vernon Gonsalves’ health deteriorated due to alleged negligence by prison staff, family members of those charged in the Elgar Parishad case criticized the trend to “systematically” deny medical treatment to prisoners and accused the authorities of “criminal negligence”.

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