Friday, July 1, 2011

Tea with jail official, chatting with friends - Tihar Jail

NEW DELHI: High tea with the jail superintendent, freedom to enter, leave prison cells or meet co-accused, unrestricted access to jail premises — this is what life is like in Tihar Jail for the high-profile accused in the country`s two biggest scams —2G spectrum scam and Commonwealth Games.

On a surprise visit to the jail on Thursday, inspecting trial court judge Brijesh Kumar Garg was aghast to see that "high profile undertrial prisoners (UTP) were being given undue liberty by the jail authorities". While sacked Games Organizing Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi was having tea and snacks with the jail superintendent in his chamber, the judge found that the cells of 2G spectrum accused were unlocked and "all the high profile UTPs were able to roam around and interact with each other".

In a report to the district and sessions judge, Garg said he was "surprised to see Kalmadi, who is in judicial custody in connection with the Time-Scoring-Result contract scam, was sitting with jail superintendent Bharadwaj and was enjoying tea/coffee and biscuits/namkeen".

When Garg, an additional district judge, asked why Kalmadi was there, he was told that the sacked CWG organizer was waiting for the van to take him to the hospital. The jail superintendent, however, failed to explain the tea and snacks. The superintendent has been asked to submit the entire record of medical treatment given to Kalmadi, along with details of his visits to hospitals.

The report also states that during the inspection, cells of the accused in "various scams related to CWG, 2G spectrum and Nalco" were not locked. Garg, however, noted that at the time of inspection, the accused were all present in their respective cells. "During the inspection, it was observed that none of the jail officials was expecting the visit (of the judge) during the summer vacations and all the high profile accused were being given undue liberty by the jail authorities for reasons best known to them," Garg's report said.

Old inmates were not left out of the "special treatment" either. Vikas Yadav and Vishal Yadav, serving a life term for the murder of Nitish Katara, were found enjoying a stroll. "Vishal Yadav and Vikas Yadav were roaming around in the garden of the jail, beyond permitted time," the report said, adding that the jail superintendent was unable to give any explanation.

Garg concluded, "It appears that the jail authorities were having two sets of norms, one for the high profile undertrial prisoners and convicts and the other for the remaining UTPs and convicts. It appears that the high profile accused and convicts were thoroughly enjoying their stints at the Central Jail Number 4, courtesy the jail officials."

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