Elgar Parishad case: Vernon Gonsalves’s Covid report negative, yet to get Dr Anand Teltumbde’s result, Maharashtra government tells HC
The state has informed the Bombay high court (HC) that the Covid-19 report of Elgar Parishad accused, activist Vernon Gonsalves, has come negative, while the test result of another accused, Dr Anand Teltumbde, is awaited.
Gonsalves had approached the court seeking for a test, as he had been in close contact with another accused in the case, P Varavara Rao, in Taloja jail. Rao was tested positive for the virus on July 16. Dr Teltumbde had sought the test as he was also lodged in the same jail hospital where Rao was undergoing treatment for other ailments before he was tested positive for Covid-19.
A division bench of justice RD Dhanuka and justice VG Bisht, while hearing the application by Gonsalves and Dr Teltumbde, was informed by senior advocate Mihir Desai that though his clients had been tested for Covid-19, the jail authorities had not informed them or their families about the results. Desai said that it was only through media reports did they learn that Gonsalves was tested negative for Covid-19.
Desai further submitted that though both the accused had been in touch with their families and lawyers through video-calling while at Taloja jail, they had not spoken to their families from the time their plea to be tested was complied with by the jail authorities. Hence, the authorities should be directed to facilitate the video calls.
Responding to Desai, public prosecutor Deepak Thakare confirmed that Gonsalves had tested negative for Covid and his health was being monitored regularly, even as the authorities are yet to get Dr Teltumbde’s reports. The state has also assured the court that Gonsalves would be allowed to make video calls to his family.
Thakare also sought time till Friday to know the outcome of Dr Teltumbde’s test results, which the court allowed and posted the matter for hearing after that.