COVID-19 Body Bag Scam: Bombay HC Gives Nod To Pre-Arrest Bail Of Ex-Mayor Kishori Pednekar

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Thursday confirmed the prearrest bail given to former Shiv Sena (UBT) leader and former Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar in connection with an alleged scam in the purchase of body bags for Covid victims.

The confirmation of the bail by the court came after the State said it had no objection to it as she has been cooperating with the investigation. Justice NJ Jamadar, while confirming Pednekar’s pre-arrest bail, directed her release on furnishing a personal bond of Rs30,000 in case of arrest.

EOW Case Against Kishori Pednekar

The EOW of Mumbai police had registered an FIR against Pednekar under various sections of IPC for cheating and criminal conspiracy. This followed a complaint by a BJP leader. A case was also registered against a private contractor, Vedant Innotech, and unknown government servants for the alleged fraud of Rs49.63 lakh.

The FIR alleged that there was 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. Justice Jamadar had granted Pednekar interim relief on September 4 last year, observing that the investigation was underway and at the time her custodial interrogation did not seem to be warranted. The court had also directed her to appear before the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Mumbai police.Pednekar had approached the high court after the sessions court rejected her prearrest bail plea on August 29, 2023. The sessions court had observed that the allegations prima facie showed a conspiracy involving misuse of power and public money. Pednekar has sought pre-arrest bail claiming that she has been falsely implicated in the case. The complaint against the applicant is tainted with mala fide, politically motivated, and made with an ulterior motive. Baseless, and frivolous allegation is made against the applicant only in order to implicate her in a serious offence, the plea read.She also alleged that the complaint against her had political overtones as it was lodged only after the split in the Shiv Sena. The complainant, who is a Bharatiya Janata Party leader, was a habitual complainant who has a history of targeting politicians who do not owe allegiance to his party, she contended.

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