Land for jobs 'scam': Delhi HC directs medical evaluation of Lalu's aide Amit Katyal

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New Delhi, Jun 9 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has directed the constitution of a medical board to evaluate the medical condition of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav's close aide Amit Katyal, who sought interim bail on medical grounds in a money laundering case linked to the alleged land-for-jobs scam in the Indian Railways.

The High Court observed that even though the report from the jail did not indicate any "underlying medical condition", the accused recently had a bariatric surgery and, therefore, asked the AIIMS director to immediately constitute the team of doctors from minimum three different specialties to ascertain the nature of ailments he is suffering from.

The High Court emphasised that the right of health of an individual, being a facet of right to life under Article 21, cannot be abridged without due process of law in a mechanical manner and an individual can be released on an interim bail when specialized treatment and care, which cannot be provided in jail, is necessary.

"The Court cannot assume the role of an expert and make an assessment of its own as regard the medical condition of the petitioner... In the circumstances, this Court deems it appropriate to constitute a medical board to evaluate the medical condition of the petitioner," concluded a vacation bench of Justice Vikas Mahajan in an order passed on June 7.

The High Court said after the evaluation of medical records and examination of the petitioner accused, the medical board shall furnish a report on or before June 14.

The report must indicate whether the petitioner requires such specialized treatment, personal care and special diet which cannot be provided in the primary healthcare facility of jail, it stated.

The counsel for the Enforcement Directorate submitted that the medical ailments of the petitioner were not serious and the requisite medical attention was being provided to him in the jail premises.

Represented by senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Vikas Pahwa, Katyal had approached the High Court earlier this month for medical interim bail, stating he has undergone bariatric surgery and has also 10 kgs weight and he needs to undergo further treatment which is not available in the Tihar jail where he is lodged.

Katyal was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on November 11, 2023 under various provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The probe agency has alleged that Katyal had acquired land from several job aspirants on behalf of the RJD chief and former railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.

The ED has claimed that Katyal was the director of a company named AK Infosystems Private Limited, which acquired land from candidates "on behalf" of Lalu Prasad Yadav. Some other members of the RJD supremo's family are also accused in the case.

The matter would be heard next on June 17. PTI ADS AS AS