Twenty-five year old Abhiram Pradhan from Odisha who was arrested by the Mumbai police for possession of hashish died in jail last week as he was suffering from a heart ailment. His lawyers alleged that the jail authorities did not provide Pradhan with the much-needed medical treatment. “He could have been saved had he got medical support on time. But, the process to get him out on bail took too long and he died before that,” Munira Palanpurwala, Pradhan’s advocate told the Hindustan Times.
As per police records, Pradhan was arrested in June 2014 by the Vinoba Bhave Nagar police station for possessing 3.6 kilograms of ganja. Like many immigrants Pradhan had come to Mumbai looking for work, but got addicted to drugs.
“When he was in jail, his health deteriorated and he was diagnosed with a heart ailment. He needed an urgent operation, so we had moved a bail application in September 2014,” Munira said. The court had first rejected the bail application as the prosecution contended that Pradhan could abscond. “However, as his condition worsened, we applied for bail again,” Munira said. On September 12, 2014 the Special NDPS court did grant him bail on a surety of Rs25,000 and he was asked to submit authentic proof of residence. “The condition for bail was that he would be released only upon verification of the residence proof by the police,” Munira said.
“The police verification took time as the address was in Odisha and Pradhan could not afford the Rs25,000 bond. These formalities delayed his release and he could not be released till February 2015,” Munira said.
As Pradhan’s health was deteriorating, the lawyer appealed to the court to relax the conditions. “The court asked for his medical report which was submitted,” Munira said. The medical report, which was made out by the chief medical officer from Arthur Road jail, verified that Pradhan had a heart ailment. The report also said that Pradhan was admitted to the Government Hospital for many days as an indoor patient as he was in critical condition. “The doctor had suggested surgery for Pradhan but he was found unfit for the same,” Munira said.
The court, however, refused to relax the conditions for Pradhan’s bail. However, Pradhan’s lawyer did manage to get an order to release him last month. However, before he could be brought out, he succumbed to his ailment in jail. “Had we been able to get him out in time, we could have saved his life,” Munira said.