Elgar Parishad case: Fr Stan Swamy tests positive for Covid-19, condition stable
Elgar Parishad accused and octogenarian Fr Stan Swamy has tested positive for Covid-19. The 84-year-old who was shifted from Taloja jail to Holy Family Hospital at Bandra following an order of the Bombay high court (HC) on Friday night was tested for coronavirus on Saturday. While sources said that Fr Swamy’s report that was received on Sunday had come positive, Fr Frazer Mascarenhas, Fr Swamy’s friend said he was unable to confirm the same and said that he was awaiting an update from the hospital. However, jail authorities confirmed the same and said that Fr Swamy’s lawyer had informed them about his test result coming positive on Sunday morning.
According to Kaustubh Kurlekar, jail superintendent of Taloja jail, Dr Swamy’s lawyers had communicated his positive status on Sunday morning. He added that jail officials have also sought an update on the health status of Fr Swamy from the private hospital.
Kurlekar added that two inmates including co-accused Arun Ferreira, who were Swamy’s attendants in prison, had tested negative for Covid. Fr Swamy was given the first vaccination jab at an in-house prison vaccination camp on May 18. The jail official also said that Covid tests had been conducted on Fr Swamy earlier in the prison hospital from time to time.
Meanwhile, Fr Frazer Mascarenhas, a friend of Fr Swamy said, “We are very relieved after Fr Swamy was shifted to Holy Family Hospital as his condition had deteriorated at Taloja jail. His condition is stable now. I was informed by the hospital that Fr Swamy was tested for Covid-19 on Saturday but I am unaware of the result as I am awaiting an update from the hospital director.”
Fr Swamy was arrested in October 2020 in connection with the Elgar Parishad violence incident in 2018 and for his alleged Maoist links. He had been kept at Taloja jail with the other accused which included P Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira, Hany Babu and others since then.
On May 21, while addressing through video conferencing from the jail the HC bench of justice S J Kathawalla which was hearing Fr Swamy’s appeal against the rejection of his bail application by a special NIA court, Fr Swamy told the bench that when he was brought to the jail he could walk, bathe and stand on his own. However, over the past eight months, his health had deteriorated and he could not do these things without any help anymore. He told the court that in light of his deteriorating health he wanted to go back to Ranchi but did not want to be shifted to Sir JJ Hospital and would prefer to stay in Taloja jail and die there.
Fr Swamy’s lawyer senior advocate Mihir Desai had informed the bench that Fr Swamy was in an advanced stage of Parkinson and had developed cough and fever over a week and hence his application for interim bail should be granted or he should be shifted to a private hospital to monitor his health.
On May 28, the bench of justice SS Shinde permitted Fr Swamy to be shifted to Holy Family Hospital provided he paid the cost of treatment there himself.