Active Stocks
Sat Mar 02 2024 12:49:58
  1. Tata Steel share price
  2. 155.15 3.43%
  1. HDFC Bank share price
  2. 1,430.35 -0.06%
  1. State Bank Of India share price
  2. 773.05 0.49%
  1. Tata Motors share price
  2. 988.40 1.15%
  1. Wipro share price
  2. 522.65 0.67%
Business News/ News / Covid-19 body bag scam: Mumbai ex-mayor Kishori Pednekar's anticipatory bail application rejected
BackBack

Covid-19 body bag scam: Mumbai ex-mayor Kishori Pednekar's anticipatory bail application rejected

Troubles for former Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar increased Tuesday after a session’s court in Mumbai dined anticipatory bail in an alleged scam in the purchase of body bags for COVID-19 victims, saying that she was accused of an economic offence involving a huge amount of public money

Former Mumbai Mayor Kishori PednekarPremium
Former Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar

Troubles for former Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar increased Tuesday after a session’s court in Mumbai dined anticipatory bail in an alleged scam in the purchase of body bags for COVID-19 victims, saying that she was accused of an economic offence involving a huge amount of public money. 

The allegations against her were in respect of "not protecting the interest of a public body" like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), resulting in a criminal breach of trust, the Mumbai court said. 

Fearing arrest in the case, the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader had earlier this month filed an anticipatory bail application.

Additional sessions judge S B Joshi, however, refused relief to Pednekar and two other accused. 

Mumbai police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) registered a case against Pednekar and two senior officials of the BMC under various Indian Penal Code sections including 420 (cheating) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) based on a complaint filed by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya. 

It was alleged that there was a misappropriation of funds and irregularities in the management of health facilities and purchase of body bags for deceased coronavirus patients, masks and other items by the BMC during the pandemic. 

Pednekar was Mumbai mayor from November 2019 till March 2022 when the term of the BMC's general body ended. Fresh civic elections are yet to be held. In her pre-arrest bail plea, filed through advocate Rahul Arote, Pednekar claimed she was “falsely implicated in the case" and the complaint against her was politically motivated.

Somaiya, a former Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai, is a habitual complainant who has a history of targeting politicians who do not owe allegiance to his party, she alleged. 

Special public prosecutor Seema Deshpande opposed the plea, claiming that misusing her powers as mayor, Pednekar and other accused got cancelled the purchase orders given to another firm.

Subsequently, the BMC purchased 1200 body bags at a higher rate of 6,719 apiece from Vedant InnoTech Private Limited (VIPL), the prosecution said.

Thus, during May 16, 2020, to June 7, 2020, there was a misappropriation of public funds of 49.63 lakh, it alleged.

The court, in its order, said there were serious allegations against the former mayor regarding not protecting the interest of a public body like BMC, "resulting in a criminal breach of trust by the applicant being a public servant." “Prima facie (on the face of it) allegations show conspiracy involving misuse of powers and public money. She appears to be involved in the economic offences of a huge amount, which is public money," the court noted. 

The allegations were about “grave offences affecting the economy of the country and also causing serious threat or loss to the financial health of the country", it added. 

Without custodial interrogation it cannot be said “if she is not involved or falsely involved in the crime in question" and the grant of anticipatory bail will "certainly hamper proper and effective investigation," the court said.

 

Unlock a world of Benefits! From insightful newsletters to real-time stock tracking, breaking news and a personalized newsfeed – it's all here, just a click away! Login Now!

Catch all the Business News, Market News, Breaking News Events and Latest News Updates on Live Mint. Check all the latest action on Budget 2024 here. Download The Mint News App to get Daily Market Updates.
More Less
Published: 29 Aug 2023, 10:59 PM IST
Next Story footLogo
Recommended For You
Switch to the Mint app for fast and personalized news - Get App