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Madras HC slams Chennai police for missing COVID patient

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The news of a 74-year old COVID patient in Chennai, who went missing after authorities picked him up from his residence for treatment and allegedly misinformed his family members, has rung a discordant note within Madras High Court.

Yesterday (July 14) the court came down heavily on the Chennai city police, directing it to file a detailed report on the missing patient in just one day. This was after a court-ordered one-week deadline had passed. The elderly man has been missing for over a month since being picked up by Chennai corporation staff. 

The corporation staff had misled the family, saying that the elderly man was safe in the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital. Later the family members found this to be a lie and that the man was missing.

Hearing a habeas corpus petition, filed by the son of the missing patient A Thulasidass, a two-member bench of the court blasted the delay in transfer of the case from one police station in the city to another causing delay in the investigations.

A division bench of Justices R Kirubakaran and VM Velumani observed during the hearing: “It was unfortunate that the state is delaying the filing of the status report in a court-ordered matter.”

As per the petition, Adikesavan of Alandur had tested positive for COVID-19 on June 11 and was taken by a corporation sanitary inspector to the Ekkattuthangal screening centre. He was later shifted to Kilpauk Medical College Government Hospital.

However, after a few days, his son found out that his father was never hospitalised in KMCH. On investigation, it was found that on June 15 he was taken to the Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital, but was never given any treatment.

The additional public prosecutor M Prabhavathi submitted that the investigation report is to be transferred to the Flower Bazaar police station from the Kilpauk Police Station. To which the court observed, “Unfortunately, there is a delay by more than a week in transferring the case from one police station to another and the court is unable to understand the cause for the delay.”

The counsel for the petitioner Poongkhulali argued that a blame game has ensued between the police officials and the Chennai corporation staff. “The police are saying that it was the corporation staff who has to be held responsible and not the police officials,” the petitioner’s counsel submitted to the division bench.

-India Legal Bureau

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