Graft in COVID-19 body bags purchase: Court denies pre-arrest bail to ex-Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar

A sessions court here on Tuesday refused anticipatory bail to former Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar in a case pertaining to alleged corruption in the purchase of body bags meant for COVID-19 victims.

Fearing arrest in the case, the Shiv Sena (UBT) leader earlier this month moved an anticipatory bail application before the court.

Additional sessions judge S B Joshi on Tuesday refused anticipatory bail to Pednekar and two other accused in the case.

The city police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) had registered a case against Pednekar and two senior officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) under various Indian Penal Code sections, including 420 (cheating) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy).

The case is linked to COVID-19 centres “scam” allegedly involving misappropriation of funds in management of health facilities and financial irregularities in purchases of body bags for deceased coronavirus patients, masks and other items by the BMC during the pandemic.

It is based on a complaint filed with the EOW by BJP leader Kirit Somaiya last month.

Pednekar held the position of mayor from November 2019 to March 2022.

In her pre-arrest bail plea, filed through advocate Rahul Arote, the former mayor claimed she has been “falsely implicated in the case.”

Pednekar claimed the complaint against her “is tainted with mala fides, politically motivated, and made with an ulterior motive”.

Her plea claimed that Somaiya, the former Lok Sabha MP from Mumbai, is a habitual complainant who has a history of targeting politicians who do not owe allegiance to his party.

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