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Delhi HC asks AIIMS to constitute medical board on Chidambaram's condition

Senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram outside the Enforcement Directorate office in New Delhi, on October 30, 2019.

Senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram outside the Enforcement Directorate office in New Delhi, on October 30, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

P. Chidambaram has sought interim bail in the INX media money laundering case on medical grounds.

The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to immediately constitute a board of doctors to examine whether the former Union Minister P. Chidambaram's health conditions required him be admitted in a sterile environment in the premiere hospital.

Justice Suresh Kumar Kait gave the direction while hearing the interim bail plea of the senior Congress leader claiming that he was suffering from Crohn's disease which has become acute during his time in custody. The High Court said the board should be set up immediately and must also include Mr. Chidambaram's family doctor D. Nageshwar Reddy.

 

It said the report of the board must be placed before the court on Friday. During the course of argument, senior advocate Amit Sibal, appearing for Mr. Chidambaram, argued that Dr. Reddy of Asian Institute of Gastroenterology, Hyderabad after examining the medical reports has suggested that the inflammation in former minister's intestines was due to increase in Crohn’s disease. 

Mr. Sibal urged the court to place Mr. Chidambaram in a sterile environment highlighting that he was currently on liquid diet. Considering his age and medical condition, there is a high likelihood of his condition further deteriorating unless he is treated by his regular doctor, Mr. Sibal argued.

Mr. Sibal also suggested that his client could be sent to Hyderabad or admitted to Apollo Hospital here, where Dr. Reddy can treat him, as his condition was very serious and needed immediate attention. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Enforcement Directorate, told the court that the agency had no issues to his treatment at AIIMS, but objected to him being sent to Hyderabad for treatment.

 

Mr. Mehta also referred to a report of the medical board at AIIMS which said that there was no need to hospitalise Mr. Chidambaram. Taking note of both the submissions, the High Court decided to wait for opinion of the fresh medical board at AIIMS which will decide if Mr. Chidambaram’s present conditions required him to be put in a sterile environment.

In his plea, Mr. Chidambaram said that for the past several days he was suffering from chronic abdominal pain due to Crohn’s disease, with which he was diagnosed in 2017. Additionally the plea stated that Mr. Chidambaram has lost weight from 73.5 kg to 66 kg due to the ailment. Mr. Chidambaram had earlier moved the High Court seeking regular bail in the alleged money laundering case, in which he is presently in ED custody.

He has already been granted bail by the Supreme Court in the INX Media case, which is being probed by the CBI. The case relates to a FIR registered by CBI on May 15, 2017 against alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance provided to INX Media for receiving overseas funds to the tune of ₹305 crore in 2007, when Mr. Chidambaram was Finance Minister. The ED is investigating the alleged offence of money laundering arising out of the FIR.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 3:40:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/inx-media-case-delhi-directs-aiims-director-to-constitute-medical-board-on-condition-of-chidambaram/article29840187.ece

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