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Mumbai ex-mayor Kishori Pednekar gets relief from arrest till August 24 | Mumbai News – Times of India



MUMBAI: Former mayor Kishori Pednekar, 60, was granted interim relief from arrest until August 24 in the overpriced body bags case after prosecution filed a reply opposing her plea for anticipatory bail but sought time to submit oral arguments.

The prosecution said Pednekar had misused her position as mayor to favour a private company supplying body bags at an inflated rate during the pandemic leading to losses of Rs 49.6 lakh to the BMC. It added that Pednekar had a cheating case at Nirmal Nagar police station, and as the office bearer of a party, could put pressure on witnesses.
Pednekar, in her plea submitted by advocate Rahul Arote, said the case was politically motivated. “That the complaint has political overtures is evident from the fact that only after the split in the Shiv Sena, the complaint was lodged against the applicant… (who) is affiliated to the Uddhav Thackeray faction,” said the plea said. It added that BJP’s Kirit Somaiya has a history of targeting politicians not from his party.

Last week, the police’s economic offences wing (EOW) registered an FIR over the purchase of allegedly overpriced body bags for Covid-19 victims. Pednekar was named an accused, with contractor Vedanta Innotech (VIPL) and its directors, and senior BMC officials, including a senior additional municipal commissioner (projects).
The prosecution alleged Pednekar had influenced Dr Haridas Rathod (holding additional charge of deputy dean, central purchase department) to buy 1,200 body bags between May 16 and June 7, 2020, from VIPL, who were selling each at Rs 6,719. Prior to May 15, one firm had supplied about 100 body bags to hospitals for 2,925. It feared Pednekar might deter Rathod “from testifying in future due to pressure or inducement or fear”.
Pednekar has claimed that, as a former nurse, she had got complaints of poor quality body bags from hospitals, and had brought it to the notice of the purchase department. She had no role in giving the contract to VIPL.



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