New Delhi: Suspended Jharkhand cadre IAS officer Pooja Singhal, accused in a money laundering case, told the Supreme Court on Monday that her privacy was breached when photographs of her room were leaked while she was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Ranchi.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Singhal, submitted before a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia that his client has been in custody for over 200 days and her privacy was breached when photographs of her room were leaked while she was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Ranchi.
Luthra said while she was meeting her family members, the pictures were taken and leaked to the media and this amounts to a breach of her privacy. The bench said very serious allegations have been made against her and it cannot consider granting her bail now. Luthra said she is in custody in an Enforcement Directorate (ED) case and the agency can tell how the pictures got leaked.
Advocate Zoheb Hossain, representing the ED, contended that there was no breach of privacy and the pictures in question were from CCTV footage where Singhal can be seen in the hospital corridor. The bench queried Singhal’s counsel: "Your ground is that there was a breach of her privacy while in judicial custody but does that entitle you to bail?"
Luthra said he was only trying to bring to the knowledge of the court the incident of breach of her privacy, and there are other grounds. Hossain claimed Singhal met family members at odd visiting hours and roamed around in the corridor. The bench was informed that four witnesses had been examined and 19 others were to be examined. Overall, there are 33 witnesses in the case.
After hearing submissions, the top court scheduled the matter for hearing on October 30 and asked ED to give it the list of key witnesses. On February 10, the top court granted Singhal interim bail for two months to enable her to take care of her ailing daughter. Singhal has been in custody in a case related to alleged corruption in the implementation of MGNREGA scheme for rural employment.