BENGALURU: Although arrested Kampli MLA JN Ganesh was present in the annexe ward of Victoria Hospital on Friday morning, there was no convincing evidence to confirm that he did not leave the ward by flouting judicial custody norms.Senior High Court advocate Shyam Sundar said that if an undertrial prisoner leaves the jail ward when in judicial custody, or is taken to a private place without following appropriate judicial procedures, it is considered a serious offence.
The New Indian Express, in a front page article on Friday, raised questions about the whereabouts of Ganesh, who was admitted to Victoria Hospital 11 days ago. He was said to be diagnosed with hernia, infection of the urinary tract and chest, and depression. He had been kept in the jail ward of Victoria Hospital.
However, when the TNIE team checked, he was not to be found anywhere in the hospital jail ward or its annexe. Security personnel confirmed to this paper that he had been taken somewhere fo0ur days ago, and was brought back some time late on Thursday night.Advocate Shyam Sundar said that in this case, the court concerned can initiate an inquiry as the case pertains to hoodwinking the court, since Ganesh had been remanded in judicial custody. Only a thorough probe would bring out the truth on where Ganesh was taken, he added.
Hospital authorities who insisted that Ganesh was in the hospital jail ward, later said he was moved to the annexe to prevent him from being disturbed by his followers. However, requests from TNIE on Thursday evening to show Ganesh lying in the annexe, were firmly refused by medical superintendent Ramesh Krishna K.
On Friday morning, Ganesh was presented to the TNIE team which visited the ward and met the MLA, with permission from the authorities.Police personnel present there requested TNIE to portray Ganesh in positive light as “he is unwell”. Ganesh, too, made a similar request.In fact, every indication pointed to the possibility that officials in the police department and Victoria Hospital were aware that TNIE was going to report on Ganesh not being present in the hospital jail ward in its Friday edition, and was prepared to make sure that Ganesh was in hospital before sunrise, to show him off to the media.
On Friday morning, following the article in TNIE, several TV channels descended on the hospital. However, only the TNIE reporter and photographer were allowed to meet and interact with Ganesh.Interestingly, before TNIE gained official entry into the ward, Ganesh could be seen through a gap in the annexe door, sitting on a bed and talking heartily to four police constables. But when TNIE knocked on the door and announced it was the Press, Ganesh sprang off the bed and sprinted into the inside room of the annexe, where he dived into bed and lay on his back. From his robust exchanges with the constables, his tone and voice suddenly turned sickly while speaking to the TNIE reporter.
Police took the TNIE reporter and photographer in to meet him only after that, without realising that this reporter had observed the sudden change in scene, when Ganesh realised the press had come to meet him.
Signs of a cover-up, too, were noticed when TNIE learnt that when medical superintendent Krishna said there was no staff present, hospital Resident Medical Officer R Srinivasa admitted that he was standing right next to him. Why then couldn’t Ganesh be shown ?