Three accused in Elgar-Maoist links case contract COVID-19 in jail

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By PTI

MUMBAI: Three out of 10 accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case who are lodged at Taloja Central Prison near Mumbai have tested positive for coronavirus infection, an official said on Thursday.

RT-PCR tests of 57 inmates of the jail, located in Navi Mumbai, were conducted recently, he said.

Mahesh Raut, Sagar Gorkhe and Ramesh Gaichor, all accused in the Elgar case, tested positive, while other 54 were negative.

The reports were received on Wednesday, the prison official said.

Those whose reports were negative included activists Gautam Navlakha, Anand Teltumbde, Rona Wilson, Vernon Gonsalves, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawle and Arun Farreira, all accused in the Elgar Parishad case.

Of total 13 accused in the case, Varavara Rao, Stan Swamy and Hany Babu are currently out of the prison.

Rao is on bail, whereas Swamy (84) and Babu are hospitalised.

Swamy and Babu had tested positive for the virus at hospital.

Sudha Bharadwaj, another accused, is lodged in Byculla jail in Mumbai.

Taloja prison officials conducted RT-PCR tests of 556 inmates in April and May this year as a precautionary measure, and a total of 14 persons tested positive, the official said.

The prison currently houses 2,972 inmates.

The Elgar case relates to the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017.

Pune Police had claimed that it was backed by Maoists and the speeches made there triggered caste violence at Bhima-Koregaon war memorial in the district the next day.



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