Elgar Parishad: Gautam Navlakha to be examined at Tata Memorial Centre
Taloja jail authorities on Thursday assured the Bombay high court (HC) that they will take Elgar Parishad accused Gautam Navlakha to Tata Memorial Centre at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai for a medical check up. The assurance came in response to an application by Navlakha seeking medical examination of a lump in his chest and urging that he be placed under house arrest in view of his advanced age and medical condition.
The HC asked the National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the case, and state prison department to reply to the application and posted it for further hearing on September 27.
During the course of the hearing, the division bench of justice SS Shinde and justice NJ Jamadar was informed by advocate Dr Yug Choudhry, for Navlakha, that his client had developed a lump in his chest which needed to be examined urgently. Choudhry further said there was a history of cancer in Navlakha’s family and hence there was an apprehension that the lump could be malignant. He added that as Navlakha’s sister was working at Jaslok Hospital, he desired to be examined there.
Additional solicitor general Anil Singh, for NIA, said while there was no opposition to taking a prisoner for treatment, it opposed Navlakha’s request to be examined at a hospital of his choice. Singh said Navlakha could be taken to a government hospital like Tata Memorial Centre which specialises in cancer treatment.
Terming NIA’s objection as vindictive, Chaudhry told the court that Navlakha would visit the hospital at his own expense and there would be no financial burden on the state.
The bench than asked Choudhry whether there was a mention of Jaslok Hospital in the application, to which Choudhry replied in the negative and accepted the offer of taking Navlakha to Tata Memorial Centre, saying he could not delay examination of the lump which could possibly be cancer.
Thereafter the state confirmed referring Navlakha to the centre on Friday.
In his petition, Navlakha has sought shifting him from judicial custody to house arrest on the grounds that he has an unblemished public service record and no criminal antecedents. He has also referred to his house arrest for 35 days prior to being brought to Taloja jail and stated the investigation had not been prejudiced in that period. Navlakha also said he was being denied basic medical facilities and other necessities in Taloja Central Prison and hence, was suffering hardships at his advanced age.