Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the state Home Department and Public Health Department to initiate action against their officials for dereliction of duty and negligence which allowed a prime accused in the murder of builder Sunil Loharia to avoid jail and stay in a civic hospital for over a month.
Suresh Bijlani, prime accused in the murder case, had got himself admitted in the Thane civil hospital on August 16 after he was remanded in judicial custody and lodged in the Thane central prison.
Loharia`s son Sandeep recently approached the high court stating that Bijlani was alright and alleged that he was enjoying a privileged stay in the hospital in connivance with the jail authorities and hospital doctors.
A division bench of Justices SC Dharmadhikari and GS Patel had earlier this week directed Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch Satyanarayan Chaudhary to conduct an inquiry into the matter and call for a report from the JJ Hospital on Bijlani`s medical condition.
The court was today informed by the DCP that Bijlani discharged himself from the hospital on September 25 after the high court ordered an inquiry and has been taken back to Thane jail.
"We appreciate the steps taken by the DCP, but what we find is that until the high court intervened no steps were taken by the investigating agency. Serious lapses have been noticed," the court observed.
"Necessary and requisite steps have to be taken in the form of action not only against the errant police officials, but also against the civil hospital doctors who assisted the accused in getting admitted and allowing him to remain there for a month under the garb of illness," Justice Dharmadhikari said.
The bench has directed the Home Department and Public Health Department to conduct an inquiry and take necessary action within four months.
In addition, the court also directed the Thane jail authorities to inform the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Satyanarayan Chaudhary, in case Bijlani complains of any illness in future. "Permission will be sought from the sessions court and then, if necessary, Bijlani may be admitted to the JJ hospital and not to Thane hospital," the court said.