The lawyer for December 16 gang-rape accused Vinay Sharma alleged in a special fast-track court here on Wednesday that Vinay was critically ill and has been poisoned. The court responded by directing the Tihar Jail authorities to provide proper medical care to Vinay, who has been hospitalised for the past several days.

However, Tihar Jail immediately rebutted the allegation. “The rumour regarding undertrial prisoner Vinay S/o Hari Ram that he has been poisoned in the jail and hence admitted in hospital is false. In fact, he is admitted to hospital due to high fever,” Tihar Jail said in a statement.

Vinay's counsel A. P. Singh alleged that the accused was having high fever and that he was vomiting blood as his food was being poisoned over several weeks. Mr. Singh alleged that Vinay was not getting proper medical treatment as the doctors of a government hospital where he is admitted are on strike.

Additional Sessions Judge Yogesh Khanna has asked jail authorities to ascertain whether the doctors were on strike and to inform the court if Vinay can be shifted to a private hospital.

“The jail superintendent is directed to look into the matter. If doctors are on strike then make arrangements to shift the accused Vinay to another hospital where better facilities are available. See if he can be shifted to any other private hospital. Tell me if as per jail manual, I can send him to another hospital at government expense,” the court said.

The prosecution countered the defence claims saying the doctors were on strike only for a few hours. Vinay has not attended court proceedings since May 8 as he is not keeping well. On Tuesday, the court had rejected Vinay’s plea for 15 days’ interim bail for medical treatment.