State govt. will bear cost of jail escorts

The Bombay High Court on Saturday permitted an accused in the Punjab Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank fraud to attend his father’s funeral on “humanitarian grounds”.

The court said the State will bear the cost for the personnel escorting him from Taloja Central Jail, where he is lodged.

A single Bench of Justice S.V. Kotwal was hearing an interim application in the criminal bail plea filed by S. Rajneet Tara Singh Nandrajog (50). He was arrested on November 16, 2019, after a case was registered against him by the Economic Offences Wing.

The plea filed by his advocate Nishant Katneshwarkar sought temporary bail for 20 days to attend his father’s funeral on Sunday.

The Bench said, “Though this application is preferred for temporary bail; without considering merits of the matter, I am not inclined to grant temporary bail to the present applicant. However, on purely humanitarian grounds, I am inclined to permit the applicant to attend the funeral and to perform final rites, with escorts.”

The Bench also allowed him to meet his family for one more day and attend the religious ceremonies on the 13th day. The court directed jail authorities to arrange for escorts in plain clothes for Mr. Nandrajog to attend the funeral on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The court also said he will be taken to his house the next day at 9 a.m. and brought back to jail at 6 p.m. He will be taken to perform the rituals on the 13th day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. On humanitarian grounds, the cost of escorts shall be borne by the State of Maharashtra, the Bench ruled.

The order also said, “All the protocols, precautions, rules and regulations applicable in this situation of COVID-19 pandemic shall be scrupulously followed by the Jail Authorities, Escorts, Medical Officers as well as the Applicant. The Jail Authorities shall ensure that the health and safety of other inmates of the jail are not compromised.”

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