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Top jail officials clash over "special" treatment to Sasikala

Press Trust of India  |  Bengaluru 

A senior police official has alleged that (Amma) leader V K Sasikala was being given preferential treatment at a prison here, including a special kitchen being set up for her, and there was "talk" that senior jail officials accepted Rs 2 crore as bribe to facilitate it.

Deputy Inspector of General (Prisons) D Roopa made these allegations in a report submitted to DGP (Prisons) H S Sathyanarayana Rao yesterday.

In the four-page report after visiting the central prison on July 10, Roopa said a special kitchen was functioning in the jail for Sasikala in violation of prison rules.

"There are rumours that the kitchen is continuing to function despite the issue being brought to your (Rao) notice. There is also a talk that Rs 2 crore has been paid as bribe for this.

"As unfortunately these allegations are also against you, it is requested that you look into the matter and take merciless disciplinary action against erroneous officials," the report signed by Roopa said.

However, Rao rubbished the charge against him by Roopa, terming it "absolutely false, baseless and wild". He said he would take legal recourse against his junior.

He said no special treatment was meted out to anybody, adding that even in the matter of visitations, ministers, MPs and MLAs of Tamil Nadu were not being obliged.

Sasikala is lodged at the Parappana Agrahara central prison here ever since her conviction in February in the disproportionate assets case along with her two relatives V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi, all serving a four year jail term.

In the report, she has also mentioned about the "preferential" treatment being provided to fake stamp paper scam kingpin Abdul Karim Telgi in the prison. Undertrial prisoners in his cell are allegedly being used to do his personal work like pressing his shoulders, arms and legs.

Noting that six months ago there was a court direction to provide Telgi with assistants as he was using a wheelchair, the DIG in her report said though now he was dependant on it and was walking properly, three to four undertrials are still allowed in his cell to do his work.

"I think you too might have seen this on the CCTV installed in your chamber. Allowing undertrials with convicts like Telgi is against the prison rules. Despite knowing this, the superintendent of the jail has not taken any action," she said.

Refuting Roopa's allegations at a press conference today, Rao said no "undue favour" was being shown to Sasikala. He said she was taking prison food as other inmates.

"There is no special kitchen. She is like any other prisoner," Rao said.

Stating that the DIG's report was sent to his office after office hours and it had appeared in the media immediately, Rao said as a subordinate officer she should have discussed it with him first, including the charges against him.

"I'm open to any investigation. Instead she has gone to media without any evidence," he said.

Rao said he had issued two memos to Roopa for going to the media and posting information on social media (both on other issues) and not attending the chief minster's meeting.

"Instead of attending chief minister's meeting she has gone to prison...Who has authorised her. She had to attend the meeting. Instead of giving reply to the memos she has come out with this (allegation)," he said.

Asked if he suspected any conspiracy against him, Rao said, "Maybe, there is some conspiracy. I do not know."

In her report, Roopa pointed out various "erroneous" practices in the prison, alleging that ganja was being consumed by several prisoners.

She said during her visit, she conducted drug tests on 25 inmates using drugs test kit and "shockingly" 18 of them turned out to be positive as per doctors.

Accusing the DGP of interfering in her functioning, the DIG has said she was sent a memo seeking explanation on the very next day of her visit to the prison.

She said she was functioning within her official limits.

Not wishing to comment on her report, Roopa told reporters today that if the DGP "finds it false, he has every means to get it inquired into again".

She said a copy of the report has been sent to the government, adding, "let there be a fact-finding inquiry."

Asked about the allegations in her report being based on "rumours", Roopa said, "There are facts which even now can be proved. Let there be an inquiry."

"There is fact and rumour. I have mentioned rumour as a rumour. I have not converted rumour to a fact. I have put it in the report and have given it to the DG himself. He should take it positively," she told reporters when asked if there was truth in the "rumours" mentioned by her in the report.

On DGP's memo about her not attending the CM's meeting, Roopa said she was told by the DG earlier that she need not attend the meeting at DG&IGP office unless there were specific instructions from him, and there was no written or oral orders instructing her to attend the meeting.

"Why would I skip CM's meeting, it's a privilege to attend. I have not been asked to attend," she added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 13 2017. 13:57 IST