The Bombay High Court has sought a clarification from the Maharashtra government after the court was informed that COVID test reports of Mahesh Raut and Anand Teltumbde, both accused in the Elgar Parishad- Koregaon Bhima case, bore identical findings on weight, height, and some other vital health parameters.
The discrepancy was brought to the notice of the HC on August 5 by Raut's counsel Vijay Hiremath during a hearing through video conference. The state government had submitted the COVID test reports for both the accused on August 3, following previous orders of the high court.
The contents of the report were made public on August 5.
Raut's counsel Hiremath claimed that while the report said Raut had tested negative for coronavirus, his vitals and other details were exactly the same as that mentioned in Teltumbde's report.
The COVID report for Teltumbde showed that he had developed antibodies for the coronavirus, which means he must have been infected by the virus at some point. Advocate Hiremath told the court that the said reports must not he accepted by the court. "I told HC that I was disputing my client's (Raut's) report. How can the weight, height, blood pressure, pulse,oxygen levels, everything be identical for two different persons?" Hiremath said.
"We don't know if these reports belong to these persons or not?" he said. The court then raised the question of authenticity of the reports before the state. State counsel and public prosecutor YP Yagnik said he will take instructions from the Taloja prison authorities and get back to the court.
"YP Yagnik, learned Public Prosecutor states that after re-verification he would make statement before this Court whether the medical report dated 3rd August, 2020,submitted by him before this Court is the report of the under trial prisoner Mahesh Sitaram Raut or not," the HC said.
Raut, Teltumbde, and co-accused Vernon Gonsalves had approached the HC last month seeking that they be tested for coronavirus.
In their pleas filed through Hiremath and senior counsel Mihir Desai, they had told the HC that they had all been in close contact with co-accused Varavara Rao at the Taloja prison.
Rao had tested positive for coronavirus on July 16. He has been undergoing treatment at the Nanavati hospital in the city.
The case pertains to caste violence that took place near the Koregaon Bhima war memorial in Pune district of Maharashtra on January 1, 2018, following alleged provocative speeches at Elgar Parishad conclave at Pune a day earlier.
Teltumbde and several other rights activists were booked under stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for allegedly having Maoist links and conspiring to overthrow the government.