Bombay HC Rejects Bail of PNB Scam Accused Who Tested Positive for Covid-19

The Bombay High Court on Friday rejected temporary bail to Hemant Bhatt, an accused in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam, after noting that the 66-year-old has tested positive for novel coronavirus at Arthur Road jail in central Mumbai.

Justice Bharati Dangre rejected Bhatt's plea after the prosecution told the court that a COVID-19 patient cannot be allowed to be freed on temporary bail.

The court said jail authorities shall provide all medical facilities to Bhatt.

Bhatt had, last month, approached HC seeking temporary bail on the ground that he is a senior citizen with chronic heart ailment and, hence, there was a risk of being infected with coronavirus.

The court had on May 6, while hearing Bhatt's application, directed the police to inform the court about the situation at Arthur Road prison.

Additional public prosecutor Shahaji Shinde, on Friday, informed the court that a number of inmates at Arthur Road prison and some staff members had tested positive for coronavirus, and Bhatt was one of them.

Bhatt, an authorised signatory in diamond businessman and fugitive economic offender Nirav Modi's company, has been booked by CBI on charges of cheating and fraud in connection with the PNB scam.

He is also facing money laundering charges initiated by Enforcement Directorate.