Thanks to the Indian law, the social status of the rich and powerful Indians has not deterred the Indian courts from sentencing them for heinous crimes. However, when it comes to dealing with prisoners, our prisons usually discriminate between the high profile inmates and their poor brethren. As a result the VVIP prisoners lead a lavish lifestyle while others languish in the dingy jail cells.
While the modern jails have been transformed into correctional homes where the objective is to reform a convict, the special facilities offered to the VVIP prisoners by the jail authorities make one wonder whether staying in the jail will do them any good.
Lalu Prasad Yadav
Lalu Prasad Yadav, the former chief minister of Bihar and former railway minister, convicted in the multi-crore fodder scam case, spent three months in the Birsa Munda Central Jail in Jharkhand in 2013. During the time he enjoyed five-star comfort, which included two personal cooks, menu of his choice and personal TV set. He spent extra hours with visitors and had freedom to stroll in the jail lawns.
After the Apex court rejected Subrata Roy’s plea for a house arrest in his luxurious mansion in Lucknow, the chairman of Sahara Group is spending his days in a spacious cell in Delhi’s Tihar Jail. To beat the heat, an air-conditioner has been installed in the cell. He has a private lavatory, a 52-inch screen television and internet facility.
The former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh landed in Tihar jail on corruption charges. Here he stayed in a cell with attached private western-style bathroom. Fussy about cleanliness, during his stay in the jail, Singh made sure that the floor of his cell is wiped at least four times daily. He was served home-cooked food and drank mineral water. While other inmates received visitors only twice a week, Amar Singh met his family and friends every day.
The Trinamool Congress MLA and transport minister of West Bengal Government and a key accused in the multi-crore Sarada chit fund scam had spent only one month of his eight months judicial custody in the jail. Instead of the jail cell, Mitra prefers staying in the spacious air-conditioned cabin of the state-run SSKM hospital. In the one month he stayed in the jail, he was lodged in an air-conditioned cabin with private bathroom. He was allowed home-cooked food and in one occasion also drank alcohol.
Manu Sharma, convicted for Jessica Lal murder, easily buys all sorts of luxuries by bribing the jail officials. He is not only granted parole on various pretexts frequently but even when he is supposed to stay in the jail, he sneaks out his Tihar jail cell and stays in the luxurious Piccadily Hotel owned by his father Vinod Sharma in Janakpuri.
Bibi Jagir Kaur
Jagir Kaur, the former SGPC chief and former Punjab minster, convicted for murdering her daughter, received VIP treatment in the Kapurthala Central Jail. She was driven to the prison in an air-conditioned luxury vehicle. A 32-inch screen LCD TV was installed in the jail for her. Furthermore, jail officials would touch her feet as a mark of respect.
One of the accused of the 2G spectrum scam, Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK chief Karunanidhi, was another high profile inmate of Tihar jail who had enjoyed luxurious facilities that included special food, often delivered from five-star hotels, personal TV with 28 channels and domestic help. Along with Kanimozhi others accused in the 2G spectrum scam case including A Raja, Siddharth Behura and Shahid Balwa also enjoyed similar facilities in the jail.