In a shocking case a murder accused lodged at the Thane jail was made to stay inside a police van after jail refused him an entry. The accused Venkatesh Chelliya, 22 was allowed by the court to leave the jail for three hours to attend to the last rites of his father, however, when he returned the jail officials denied him entry stressing lockdown measures.
Chelliya a resident of Goregaon was lodged in Thane jail for almost three years after he was arrested in a murder case of 2017, his father Arymugam, 65 was also a accused in the case along with several others. Arymogam was released on bail recently citing health issues while Venkatesh's bail plea is pending with the Bombay High court (HC).
On May 3, Arymugam died at the KEM Hospital due to respiratory failure, since Chelliya belongs to Harijan community in which the father's last rites are performed by the youngest son, Venkatesh applied for temporary bail. The court had ordered his release for three hours so that he could perform the last rites and return back to the jail. During this time, men from Mumbai's police's Local Arms (LA) unit would be present with him until he returned back to the jail.
According to Venkatesh's advocate Prashnt Gurav, "When his client returned to the Thane jail after performing the last rites, the jail authorities denied him entry citing lockdown rules and asked him to approach Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai. When the LA policemen took him to Taloja jail, they asked to produced Venkatesh's COVID19 certificate which is mandatory for all the people who enter the jail premises".
The LA staff then took Venkatesh to JJ hospital in Mumbai for Covid-19 testing where he spent the entire night in the police van.
Next day the officers from LA pleaded before the court and narrated their ordeal of how their staff was made to sleep with a murder accused in a police van and incase anything went wrong they would be blamed for illegal detention.
"After learning about both the sides the court issued a notice against the jail authoritiy and asked the jail to take the accused in their custody," said Gurav.
Venkatesh was again brought to the JJ hospital where he was quarantined for two days and was given a negative test report. Taloja jail accepted him but instead of letting him in they quarantined him at a nearby school as a preventive measure for crowd management.
"Instead of keeping him at a quarantine centre, release him on bail and we will follow all the guidelines and will give attendance at the local police station everyday," demanded Gurav.