Maharashtra home minister Anil Deshmukh on Monday said that relatives of inmates lodged in the state’s jails cannot meet them in view of the Coronavirus pandemic. This comes as Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari had earlier requested Deshmukh to allow relatives of arrested television journalist Arnab Goswami to meet him in prison.
Speaking to reporters, Deshmukh said that inmates can communicate with their relatives over phone, provided they have prior permission from authorities.
“I got a call from honourable Governor saheb. He asked me to allow Goswami’s family members to meet him. But you all know that during the Covid-19 period, for the past four months, we have not allowed any relative to meet inmates due to the fear of the virus. Even lawyers are not allowed to meet (prisoners). However, they can communicate over phone with permission from authorities,” Deshmukh said.
Bombay High Court on Monday refused to grant bail to Goswami and asked him to approach a lower court.
Goswami and two others – Feroze Shaikh and Nitish Sarda – were arrested by Alibaug police in Mumbai on November 4 in connection with the suicide of architect-interior designer Anvay Naik and his mother in 2018 over alleged non-payment of dues by companies of the accused.
After his arrest from his residence in Mumbai, Goswami was taken to Alibaug, where the Chief Judicial Magistrate remanded him and the two others in judicial custody till November 18. Goswami was then kept at a local school which has been designated as a Covid-19 centre for the Alibaug prison. On Sunday, he was shifted to Taloja jail in Raigad district after allegedly being found using a mobile phone while in judicial custody.