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Ramani faints, sent to lock-up

Sept. 7: The leap from “page three” to the front pages couldn’t have been more harrowing for Bina Ramani.

The Jessica Lal murder witness, flown to Delhi after her arrest in Goa last evening, sent Delhi’s glamour world into a tizzy by fainting in court today before being sent to four days in police custody.

To add to it, the socialite, who has repeatedly accused police of falsely maligning her, was ordered by the magistrate not to speak to the media.

The police must take her for a medical check-up every 24 hours and provide any medication the asthma patient needs in her eight-by-ten-foot women’s cell at Hauz Khas police station.

Help was at hand as she collapsed in court, which she had entered blowing kisses at husband George Mailhot. Her fashion-designer daughter Malini sprang forward and began fanning her with a piece of paper while friend and social worker Nafisa Ali brought out an inhaler.

Ramani revived within a couple of minutes, breaking out into a smile as Malini offered a banana. By then TV had flashed the news.

“Designer friends of Malini, other socialites, even a film personality from Delhi called up…. Bina’s friends from all over started calling,” a friend said.

The defence argued her arrest was “illegal” because a woman can be arrested between sunset and sunrise only under “exceptional circumstances” and with a judicial magistrate’s permission. It said the police hadn’t told her why she was being arrested.

The police admitted not taking permission but insisted Ramani’s dignity was “taken care of”.

Ramani was arrested for allegedly forging the liquor and ownership licences for Tamarind Bar, where Jessica was killed.

In Goa, the police were probing her assets in the state. They said she owns a house and a boutique in Candolim — a village 20 km from Panaji — where she was arrested, and may be running a restaurant in north Goa.

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