Gross negligence by jail authorities led to Harshad Mehta’s death: Wife

Breaking her silence nearly 21 years after Harshad Mehta died in prison, Jyothi Mehta, the wife of the late scam-accused stock broker, charged the Thane jail authorities with gross negligence in providing timely medical help to her husband.

Mehta’s family members recently launched a website in his name — https://www.harshadmehta.in — wherein his wife wrote that the issue is being highlighted now as “the wounds are still fresh and they refuse to heal themselves despite the passage of 20 years, and our entire family sorely misses him”.

“We do not wish such punishment and the tragic death like this even for our enemies,” she said.

“It was almost past 11 p.m. on 30th December 2001 that lightning struck me when I was informed of the sudden and tragic death of my husband in Thane jail after 54 days of custody, even though he was absolutely hale and hearty and was just 47 years of age with no prior medical history of any heart ailment,” she said.

Jyoti alleged that on that fateful day, the jail authorities neglected his genuine complaint for four precious hours after he suffered the first heart attack at around 7 p.m.

“He immediately reported the unusual pain to his younger brother Sudhir who was in the next cell from where he could hear Harshad but could not see him,” she said.

While the jail doctors examined Mehta, they did not have any medicine for heart attack, she said.

“Harshad, therefore, requested them to give him Sorbitrate (medicine) which I had given at the time of his arrest 54 days ago in an emergency kit which was kept in jail custody. Due to his presence of mind, Harshad requested them to give him that Sorbitrate which kept him alive for about 4 hours,” Jyoti wrote.

“Unfortunately, the jail authorities did not use that golden time of four hours to shift him to a hospital which could have saved his life. Alas, none of us were by his side in his last moments,” she said.

According to Jyoti, at 11 p.m., Harshad was made to walk for a long distance to the Thane hospital where he immediately succumbed in a wheelchair after his cardiogram confirmed a massive second attack.

Jyoti said neither the inquiry report nor the post-mortem report was provided to the family despite repeated requests.

While Sudhir was not informed about shifting Harshad to the hospital, he was told about his brother’s death the next morning.

“Before the cremation of Harshad, which was carried out the next day, our family under the spiritual advice of our Pujya Gurudev took a decision not to complain and rake up the issue about the neglect of the jail authorities since it would not bring him back, but the wounds are yet fresh and they refuse to heal themselves despite the passage of 20 years since then. Our entire family sorely misses him,” she wrote.

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