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Chidambaram need not be hospitalised: SG Mehta to HC

Source: PTI
Last updated on: November 01, 2019 21:40 IST

Former finance minister P Chidambaram, who is in the custody of enforcement agencies and judicial remand for over 10 weeks in the INX Media case, does not require hospitalisation for his ailments, the Delhi high court was informed on Friday but Tihar jail authorities were directed to take a slew of steps for his wellbeing.

The court was hearing 74-year-old Chidambaram's plea for interim bail in the money laundering case filed by the Enforcement Directorate on medical grounds.

The Congress leader had submitted that his condition is deteriorating and needs to be in a sterile environment.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta read out the report of the AIIMS Medical Board set up on the court's order to examine Chidambaram's health condition, and told Justice Suresh Kait the former union minister was physically examined by doctors on Friday morning and the assessment was he does not require a sterile environment.

The doctors also opined that hospitalisation was not required and he be treated as an outpatient.

After going through the report, the court directed the Tihar Jail Superintendent that the surroundings of Chidambaram should be clean and hygienic and he should be provided home-cooked food, mineral water, mosquito protection net and repellant and his dwelling area be cleaned twice a day.

The court added that he should be provided face mask which he can wear, if the need arose.

 

Besides, the judge directed that Chidambaram's regular blood pressure monitoring, sugar test and other medical tests be done and periodical follow up as an outpatient once a week.

The court disposed off the interim bail plea after senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Chidambaram, said they do not require any further direction.

The interim bail application was filed in a pending bail petition which is listed for hearing on Monday.

Chidambaram is suffering from Crohn's disease which is an inflammation of the digestive tract leading to abdominal pain, diarrhoea and also weight loss.

The solicitor general said a seven-member board, including Hyderabad-based gastroenterologist Nageshwar Reddy, who has been treating the Congress leader, was set up and they opined that the treatment as advised should continue and he should be given clean surroundings.

The court on Thursday directed the AIIMS director to constitute a medical board to give an opinion on the health of Chidambaram.

The court had said that Dr Reddy be included in the board to give his opinion on Chidambaram's medical condition.

Chidambaram has sought interim relief for six days to enable him to consult and get examined by his regular doctor, Reddy, at the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology in Hyderabad.

He has claimed that he needs "urgent medical treatment for the acute and persistent abdominal pain being experienced" by him since October 5 due to Crohn's disease which he was diagnosed with in 2017.

The court was informed that Chidambaram's weight has reduced from 73 kg to 66 kg, which showed that his condition was deteriorating in custody.

The court in its order had directed the AIIMS medical board to give opinion on Chidambaram's condition, especially on whether he requires admission in sterile environment at the hospital.

Chidambaram, who was sent to Tihar jail on Wednesday till November 13 by the trial court in the INX Media money laundering case, was arrested by the CBI on August 21 in a related corruption case.

The ED case was registered on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of Rs 305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram's tenure as Union finance minister.

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