No home quarantine, but conditions apply

Six days after imposing home quarantine on Bihar cadre Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Vinay Tiwari, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally granted him exemption from full quarantine, but with riders. The Patna Central SP, who was quarantined in a SRPF guest house at Goregaon, is scheduled to reach his home state on August 7. The civic body has made it mandatory for the officer to furnish his "return" flight ticket and stated that he should leave Maharashtra by August 8.

The move comes following a request, dated August 6 by Bihar Police, stating that "his presence was no longer required in Mumbai". The civic body, in turn, wrote back to Jitendra Kumar Additional Director General of Police (Patna), stated "it was surprising and unfortunate that a visiting senior officer, before proceeding to Maharashtra, didn't acquaint himself of the COVID-19 quarantine guidelines issued by the Government of Maharashtra." The letter further said that above guidelines were available in the public domain.

The letter by Additional Municipal Commissioner (Projects) P Velarasu that exempts Tiwari states, "Considering that is only the fifth day of his (Tiwari's) arrival and since the request to exempt from home isolation to go back to Patna has come from Patna Police, and considering the provision in the SOP to exempt passengers on short duration visit, it is hereby decided to exempt Vinay Tiwari from home quarantine subject to fulfilling the following conditions."

As per SOP dated May 25, 2020 issued by the Government of Maharashtra, 'passengers who are coming to the state for short duration (less than a week) and have planned for onward / return journey will have to share the details of the same and will be exempted from isolation.'

This is not the first time the Bihar Police had requested the Mumbai civic body to exempt the Patna SP from the alleged ‘forceful’ home quarantine.

Tiwari, (City Superintendent of Police- Patna Central), who was in Mumbai to monitor the investigation by a team of Bihar Police into actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, was quarantined by the BMC on Sunday after he arrived from Patna.

On July 3, Sanjay Singh, Inspector General (IG) of Police (Central Region) Patna, wrote to the BMC chief, seeking exemption from home quarantine for Tiwari. The civic body turned down the request of the Bihar Police the very next day. In a reply to the Bihar Police, through its letter dated August 4, it turned down the request for exemption and stated that Tiwari should stay in quarantine and use digital platforms for his proceedings and interact with concerned officials in Mumbai.

Velrasu, in his reply dated August 4, advised Tiwari to conduct his proceedings pertaining to investigation using digital platforms. In his letter, Velarasu further warns that the officer (Tiwari) has to be in compliance with all the rules and regulations prevailing in the state of Maharashtra.

The Bihar Police team is probing an “abetment to suicide” case on the basis of a complaint filed by the actor’s father in Patna in July. Tiwari is in the city to monitor the investigation by the Bihar Police team in Mumbai.

In a statement, the BMC stated that Tiwari was quarantined as per the rules for domestic air travellers. “He (Tiwari) has also been guided to apply to the competent authority of MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) for exemption in the home quarantine period,” it said.

However, questions have been raised over why the four officers who earlier came to Mumbai in connection with the case on July 27 were not similarly quarantined by the civic body. Tiwari, on Monday, alleged that the BMC has selectively quarantined him.

The civic body has, meanwhile, asked the officer to fulfil a few conditions for the exemptions: He shall leave Maharashtra before the seventh day of the start of the quarantine period (before August 8, 2020). He shall furnish the return ticket details to the additional municipal commissioners office. He shall travel to the airport in a private car and take all the precautions expected from air passengers by the SOP dated May 25.

"It is not a question of any particular person, but of the process. The investigation, which we were expected to carry out, was affected as I was put in quarantine," Tiwari told reporters at the airport.

"Not only me, but the investigation itself was quarantined...The process, for which we had come, that was affected," the officer added.

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