The Mumbai Sessions Court rejected a request for provisional bail filed by artist Chintan Upadhyay, who was arrested in 2015 for conspiring to kill his wife and lawyer.
The disabled body of artist Hema Upadhyay and his lawyer were found mutilated in a sewer in suburban Mumbai in 2015.
Upadhyay in his provisional bail plea had said there was a colossal increase in Covid19 cases and that there was fear of a third wave. Upadhyay said he was “worried about the health of his family and parents”.
Upadhyay’s father is 73 and his mother is 68. His plea said that he is the only child and that his parents depend on him physically, mentally, psychologically, socially and even financially and that they have never met him in the past five years.
He felt “he had to take care of them in these difficult times.” In addition, he pleaded that there was a shortage of oxygen, vaccines and medical facilities and that there was a chance that he would be infected.
The government had opposed the request for provisional bail, saying Upadhyay was the conspirator and the main culprit in the double murder and dacility case. The prescribed penalty is life imprisonment or the death penalty in such cases and, therefore, he cannot be released on provisional bail.
It has further been claimed that although there is a fear of Covid-19, prison authorities take the utmost care of prisoners. Upadhyay is housed at Thane Prison where authorities do not allow any new inmates to enter until they are tested for Covid-19.
The prosecution further argued that Upadhyay did not need to fear Covid-19 and said the High Court had never recommended that defendants in the murder cases be released on bail.
The prosecution also said that Upadhyay’s parents, although elderly, were vaccinated for free, so they shouldn’t be worried. The prosecution urged the court to dismiss his request for provisional release on the grounds that there is ample evidence against Upadhyay and that he is also not a permanent resident of Mumbai.
Judge DD Khoche reviewed the indictment in the case which is based on circumstantial evidence. The trial, although delayed, is still ongoing and 26 witnesses have been interviewed to date.
“They brought considerable evidence to this court. There are also CCTV footage to support the prosecution’s case and corroborate its evidence. Under the aforementioned circumstances, when the trial itself is ongoing, the court cannot not consider the bail application on the merits, “the judge said.
The judge further noted: “Although this court can understand the feelings of the defendants and even the pain that they are being kept in prison in this frightening situation of Covid-19, given the course of the trial and the lack of a recommendation for release. the accused in a murder case on provisional bail. The court cannot consider their situation, because it is beyond the limit of the court. “