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PNB scam: HC rejects bail plea of accused who tested positive for COVID-19

The Bombay High Court on Friday rejected the plea for temporary bail filed by Hemant Bhatt (66), an aide of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi and an accused in the multi-crore the Punjab National Bank fraud lodged in Arthur Road jail, who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Justice Bharati Dangre said he allowed to go on bail and requires to be treated at a government hospital.

On Wednesday, Justice Dangre had directed the State to file a response regarding the COVID-19 outbreak in Arthur Road jail. On Thursday, 77 inmates and 26 jail officials tested positive for the contagion. The cases were detected after a 45-year-old inmate tested positive on Wednesday.

Mr. Bhatt said in his plea that he is a chronic heart patient, has undergone a bypass surgery and also suffers from hypertension. He had moved for interim bail following the Supreme Court’s directive to decongest prisons during the pandemic.

The Central Bureau of Investigation opposed Mr. Bhatt’s plea saying a high-powered committee constituted by the State government had decided to grant temporary bail to prisoners who were charged with offences liable for imprisonment for less than seven years. Mr. Bhatt’s case does not fall under that consideration, it said.

Mr Bhatt, a close confidante of the Modi family since the time Mr. Modi’s grandfather managed the business, was made a director in at least 15 companies through which Mr. Modi is believed to have laundered money.

Mr. Bhatt and Mr. Modi are also accused in a 2013 case of forgery and cheating in a property deal for a bungalow owned by a 98-year-old woman, Naju Bhiwandiwala.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2022 7:51:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/pnb-scam-hc-rejects-bail-plea-of-accused-who-tested-positive-for-covid-19/article31539165.ece

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