The Delhi High Court was informed on Friday (November 01) that former finance minister P Chidambaram, lodged in Tihar jail in the INX Media money laundering case, is fine and does not require hospitalisation.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta read out the report of AIIMS Medical Board, set up on the courts order to examine Chidambaram’s health condition, and said the Congress leader does not require a sterile environment.
Justice Suresh Kait, who was hearing Chidambaram’s interim bail plea, directed the Tihar jail superintendent to provide clean and hygienic surrounding to the 74-year-old Congress leader as also home-cooked food, mineral water, mosquito protection net and repellant.
The court also directed that Chidambaram’s medical check up be done regularly. The court disposed the plea after senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Chidambaram, said they do not require any further direction.
The court had on Thursday (October 31) directed the AIIMS director to constitute a medical board to give opinion on the health of Chidambaram, who is suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease refers to the inflammation of the digestive tract leading to abdominal pain, diarrhoea and also weight loss.
The high court had said that the Hyderabad-based gastroenterologist Nageshwar Reddy, who has been treating the Congress leader, be included in the board to give his opinion on Chidambaram’s medical condition.
Chidambaram has sought interim bail in the case, filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), on medical grounds saying his condition is deteriorating and he needs to be in a sterile environment.
He has sought interim relief for six days to enable him to consult and get examined by his regular doctor, Reddy, at the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology (AIG) in Hyderabad.
He has claimed that he needs “urgent medical treatment for the acute and persistent abdominal pain being experienced” by him since October 5 due to Crohn’s disease which he was diagnosed with in 2017.
The court was informed that Chidambaram’s weight has reduced from 73 kg to 66 kg, which showed that his condition was deteriorating in custody.
The court in its order directed the AIIMS medical board to give opinion on Chidambaram’s condition, especially on whether he requires admission in sterile environment at the hospital.
It asked the AIIMS director to constitute the board by 4 pm and the team of doctors will include Reddy. The court made it clear that the board will meet at 7 pm and if Reddy is unable to reach here from Hyderabad, the board will sit on Friday at 10 am and give its opinion.
The interim bail application was filed in Chidambaram’s pending bail plea which is listed for hearing on November 4.
According to his interim bail plea, he was examined at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on October 7 and was prescribed an antibiotic and painkillers after which the abdominal pain subsided.
Thereafter, the problem recurred on October 22 and he was examined on October 23 at AIIMS and prescribed a new set of medicines. However, there was no relief from the pain, the application has contended.
Subsequently, he was examined again at AIIMS on October 24 and October 26 and tests were conducted at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital on October 28.
After the medical test, Chidambaram was put on steroid treatment for 16 weeks, the application said and added that as his body was not responding to treatment prescribed at AIIMS and hence he be allowed to consult his regular doctor at AIG.
It has also said that his medical reports were sent to his regular doctor by e-mail and after perusing the same, the doctor has said that the inflammation has increased and Chidambaram needs immediate treatment in a sterile environment.
The plea for interim relief has been moved by Chidambaram in his application seeking regular bail in the INX Media money-laundering case in which he is presently in ED custody.
Chidambaram, who was sent to Tihar jail on Wednesday till November 13 by the trial court in the INX Media money laundering case, was arrested by the CBI on August 21 in the INX Media corruption case.
The case was registered on May 15, 2017, alleging irregularities in a Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) clearance to the INX Media group for receiving overseas funds of ₹305 crore in 2007 during Chidambaram’s tenure as Union finance minister.