Kalmadi suffering memory loss, may affect trial

Suresh Kalmadi, lodged in Tihar jail for over two months in connection with the multi-crore CWG scam.

New Delhi: Suresh Kalmadi, lodged in
Tihar jail for over two months in connection with the
multi-crore CWG scam, is suffering from dementia, a disease
related to memory loss, impaired reasoning and personality
changes and this may have a bearing on his ongoing trial.

The 66-year-old MP from Pune was recently taken to
Lok Narayan Jai Prakash Hospital where an MRI scan was
conducted on him. The tests show that he was suffering from
dementia which gradually affects cognitive functions of the
person affected by it, Deputy Inspector General of Tihar RN
Sharma said.

He said dementia at a preliminary stage was mentioned
in the medical history submitted to Jail authorities by the
family members.

The MP was ailing much before he was arrested and
brought to jail on the allegations of being involved in large
scale corruption in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games, he

"We are still awaiting for a formal copy of the test
conducted at the LNJP," he said.

Legal experts feel that the impact of his health
condition on the trial would be determined only after it was
analysed properly by medical experts.

Kalmadi`s lawyer Hitesh Jain said that his client had
been suffering from this problem for last four to five years
and the same had been communicated to the jail and
investigating authorities.

Noted lawyer KTS Tulsi said the first thing is that
it needs to be established as to how long the undertrial has
been suffering from dementia.

"Now if it (dementia) had settled at the time of
offence, it may have a bearing on his culpability. As per the
law, a demented person suffers from a global memory loss. If
there is a memory loss at the time of the commissioning of the
offence, it is not possible to have a fraudulent intention,"
Tulsi contended.

Asked whether this could be used as an alibi by the
accused to skirt the trial in the CWG scam, Tulsi said "its a
general trend that people take such recourse. What needs to be
established is when the disease has affected him. Only after
that one can decide whether it will have bearing on the case
or not."

Dementia is considered to be common problem associated
with progression of persons` age in the country as 7.5 per
cent of rural and 10.6 per cent of urban elderly are suffering
from the memory related disorder, according to a study
published in medical journal The Lancet.

Kalmadi, sacked as CWG Organising Committee chairman,
is one of the 10 accused on charges of corruption, criminal
conspiracy, chearing and forgery in awarding a contract to a
Swiss firm at exorbitant cost.

Kalmadi was taken to the hospital after a court
allowed him to undergo a medical test on July 16 on the advice
given by Tihar jail`s medical superintendent.

The DIG said the advice was for an entire health
check-up and not specific to diagnose any memory-related

Kalmadi`s lawyer had also moved an application for him
to attend the forthcoming session of Lok Sabha after the
Speaker`s office informed him that he would need to seek a
permission from the court. The plea will come up for hearing on Monday.

Another senior lawyer Manoj Taneja said the law was
equal for all. "We should not start commenting only because he
is Kalmadi. As an undertrial, he is also entitled for best
medical facility. As far as its effect on the trial, this will
need a certification of medical experts who can say at what
stage it was and whether he is medically fit to be tried in
this case."

Taneja noted that on the one hand Kalmadi is believed
to be suffering from dementia and on the other he was
approaching for permission to attend Parliament session.

Although Kalmadi might use the disease in his defence,
medical experts are of the opinion that the progression of
disease takes years to reach a stage when it starts affecting
cognitive functions of daily life.

A senior Neurologist based in Lucknow, who did not
wish to be named, said stage of dementia has to be considered
before giving any benefit to an accused in the case.

"It is difficult to comment without seeing the
progression of dementia. Normally in initial stages, it does
not affect a person. Also the symptoms starts showing only
in an advanced stage," he said.

Dr IK Malhotra, Neuro Psychologist with Vimhans, said
"dementia is treatable in only 10 to 15 per cent cases. It
deteriorates with age. A person who is multi-tasking can have
a tendency to forget but then whether it is dementia, various
other tests need to be conducted on a patient before arriving
at the conlusion."

Kalmadi has been in judicial custody since May five
after he was arrested by the CBI in the last week of April
this year.


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