Corruption in Tihar: Prisoners have sofa, LED TV, mineral water
On Thursday, the Supreme Court expressed anger over reports that highlighted special treatment given to some inmates in Tihar jail.
Justice Lokur asked what was going on in the establishment and Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi noted the issue needed immediate attention.
The matter was posted for Monday, and the Centre has been asked to reply by then.
Backstory: An inquiry revealed few inmates were enjoying themselves
An Additional Sessions Judge-ranked judicial officer Ramesh Kumar visited the Tihar jail on September 4 and found that inmates, Unitech promoters Ajay and Sanjay Chandra, were being given preferential treatment.
The lapse came to light after an inmate Asadullah Akhtar complained to High Court about it.
The complaint was converted to PIL and the court asked Kumar to carry out an inspection.
Chandra brothers had LED TV, mineral water, in their barrack
Kumar found the Chandra brothers lived in jail, but enjoyed all luxuries.
On visiting jail number 1, he found the brothers had 32-inch LED TV, coconut water bottles, five packets of mineral water, three jars of pickle, three bottles of mustard oil and other things.
In his report, the ASJ noted inmates in adjoining barracks kept quiet due to fear of being beaten up by jail authorities.
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They also had a computer and printer to 'run office'
If this wasn't enough, the brothers were given a room opposite to the one of jail superintendent. Their room had a computer and printer which aided them in 'running their office'.
The report said jail authorities claimed they gave the room on orders of Supreme Court.
"Nothing was suggested in the judgment that the Chandras may operate their office from the room," ASJ wrote.
Kumar said an FIR should be registered
About the Aquafina bottles, the Chandra brothers said they purchased them from the canteen. But the canteen operator said for the last one and a half month, they received only Bisleri bottles.
The ASJ noted officials must have been involved.
"Considering the facts and circumstances, I mentioned that an FIR be registered against DG (Prisons) and officials of jail number 1," the report added.
What is the government's answer, asks Supreme Court
As soon as the ASJ report caught media attention, concerns grew over the treatment of white collar criminals inside Tihar.
Taking note of the same, the court said 'a parallel system ran'.
It said, "What is going on in Tihar? People are enjoying TVs, Sofas. What is the government's answer? Will you (Lekhi) say you are the Centre and it is a State issue?"