Karnataka's Director General of Prisons H.N. Satyanarayana Rao on Thursday denied charges by a woman police officer that he had taken money to provide special facilities to jailed AIADMK General Secretary V.K. Sasikala.
Director Inspector General (DIG) of Prisons D. Rupa Moudgil has alleged that Sasikala, 59, was getting VIP treatment with a makeshift kitchen in her cell in the Parappana Agrahara Jail on the city's southern outskirts, with another inmate preparing food for her.
Moudgil levelled the charges in a report to Director General of Police R.K. Dutta and Chief Secretary S.C. Khuntia on Wednesday.
State Law Minister T.B. Jayachandra has promised to launch a probe and take action, if necessary.
Rao, however, said the allegations were false.
"There is no facility given to Sasikala. She is an ordinary prisoner. No undue favours have been given to her," he said.
He said if Moudgil had come to know about the so-called special facilities, she should have discussed it with him. "But to go and discuss it in the open without evidence is wrong."
Rao said in the past he had given memos to her on two occasions when she had gone public on some issues.
Refuting Moudgil's charges, Rao asked his deputy for proof to corroborate that special provisions were made for Sasikala in the women's cell of the jail.
"If Moudgil had observed something unusual during her inspection of the jail premises, she should have brought it to my notice and discussed with me than going to the media. If she thinks she has serious charges against me, I am ready for a probe," Rao told reporters here.
Maintaining her charge, Moudgil demanded a fact-finding probe into what she had said. "There are facts in the report (sent by me)."
Asserting that she had no vested interest in accusing Rao and other prison officials of grave charges mentioned in her four-page report, Moudgil said she was shocked to find many irregularities in the jail premises during her inspection rounds on return from leave recently.
"In mentioning about the charges and rampant corruption in the prison in the report, I have not flouted any rule or norm. I am ready to substantiate them (charges)," Moudgil told reporters here.
The 2000 batch IPS officer is the first woman in the southern state to have been recently (June 23) appointed the DIG of Prisons Department.
She also alleged that Sasikala paid Rs 2 crore bribe to Rao and jail officials, including its warden for undue favours.
Convict Sasikala and two co-convicts -- her sister-in-law Elavarasi and nephew V. K. Sudhakaran -- are serving a four-year sentence in the central jail since February 15 after they were held guilty by a trial court in September 2014 and upheld by the Supreme Court on February 14 in the two-decade-old disproportionate assets case of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa.
In a related development, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah ordered a high-level inquiry into the bribery and other charges Moudgil levelled in her report to the state government.
"I request all to wait for the outcome of the inquiry. Strict action will be taken against any person found guilty of wrong doing," said Siddaramaiah in a tweet.
Meanwhile, AIADMK spokesperson C.R. Saraswathi said in Chennai that Sasikala was dragged into a fight between the two officials because she was a VIP, as accusation against an ordinary person would not have attracted (media) attention.
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