A single-judge Bench of the High Court on Tuesday granted an interim stay on all proceedings relating to the criminal case against Ramesh Hospitals Managing Director P. Ramesh and Chairman M. S. Rammohan Rao, accused in the Hotel Swarna Palace fire mishap case.

After hearing arguments by both petitioners and the government pleaders, Justice D. Ramesh ruled that all further proceedings in the case be stayed.

The judge said COVID Care Centres have been set up based on a GO by the State government. The Collector, the Joint Collector and the DMHO have been entrusted with the task of overseeing and checking the condition of the CCCs.

In such cases where there was an accident , the district officials should also be made responsible, the judge said.

Police registered cases under Section 304 (2) amounting to culpable homicide when there was no intention on the part of the petitioners to cause the accident, said senior counsel D. Srinivasa Rao arguing for the petitioners.

After hearing the arguments of Mr. Srinivas and Public Prosecutor Srinivas Reddy, the judge asked the PP whether the DM&HO had permitted Ramesh Hospitals to run Hotel Swarna Palace as COVID Centre.

‘Protect petitioners’

The judge sought to know at what stage was the investigation against the Collector and the Sub-Collector, Vijayawada, who were also named as accused.

When Mr. Srinivas Reddy said that investigation was pending, the court suggested an arrangement of protecting the petitioners.

Soon after lunch break, the judge granted an interim stay on all further proceedings in the case.

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