Power comes from money and power brings money so this vicious cycle makes a loop that never ends. When those in power are answerable to VIPs then how can the law be equal? This is how a pseudo democracy works. Let it be any prison across India or any arrested warlords of our country facilities offered to them in prison are not new. We see many Bollywood movies being made on such subjects. The Bengaluru prison senior officials admitted that both Sasikala and multi-crore stamp paper scam kingpin Abdul Karim Telgi were given special treatment inside the jail. This happens almost everywhere in the world. I suppose it is coming up for discussion in India now because in the last few years a lot of high profile people have ended up in jail. However a rich person can afford a good expensive lawyer and private investigators, even if we overlook for the moment the aspect of other pressure that the rich can bring to bear) whereas a poor person will have to go with some pro-bono lawyer or the office of public defenders are equivalent in India.
There is no doubt that the rich and powerful ‘manage’ the system – be it food, parole, ‘illness’ or privileges inside prison. In some cases courts grant special benefits – home food for instance but most of the time it is because socio-economic hierarchies do not change just because someone is in prison. These hierarchies are based on power, of any sort, and that often endures. Whatever privileges the powerful may enjoy in prison, their life is nowhere close to how it is on the outside. Plus the fact that they are in prison serves as a strong reminder to others outside who may be tempted to go astray. VIP prison cells are meant to protect high profile convicts from unnecessary cases of extortion and blackmailing from other miscreant-inmates. Also, for the kind of lifestyle they had been living before conviction, this must feel nothing less than being in jail.
Today media is making noise about Sasikala due to their political masters, but if we see the past Sahara India Parivar chief Subrata Roy, currently in Tihar Jail, paid Rs 31 lakh for special privileges for 57 days. These included an air-conditioned room, western-style toilet, and mobile phone, Wi-Fi and video conferencing facilities. The bill to Roy’s company: Rs 54,400 a day. He was entitled to these facilities as a result of a Supreme Court order. Even otherwise, freedom can be bought in the prison by greasing palms. Inmates can easily have luxuries like alcohol, cigarettes, home-cooked food, mobile phones, air-conditioning and even television sets as long as they bribe the right people.
Stories of special privileges for powerful inmates of Tihar Jail first appeared when Congress leader Sanjay Gandhi was sentenced to 30 days in jail over the Maruti Udyog controversy in 1978. In recent years, the Delhi prison has had many famous residents, including former Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Kanimozhi and A Raja, former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and former Indian cricketer S Sreesanth. Recurring tales of VIPs obtaining concessions from jail authorities have followed.
Amar Singh, cited a chronic kidney problem and urinary tract infection to avoid the usual hardships of undergoing imprisonment. Instead of sharing space with regular inmates in the barracks, he got a separate ward. He was allowed home food, mineral water and a western-style toilet. Two cellmates, cleaned his ward four to five times a day with sanitizer and sprayed insecticide to keep mosquitos at bay.
Suresh Kalmadi, Kanimozi and Raja enjoyed various comforts in Tihar. They were given mineral water; the quality of food was better since most of it was delivered from five-star hotels. They were assigned domestic help and had television in their cells with 28 channels. Special kitchen is functioning in the jail for Sasikala, where she has been lodged since February 15 to serve her sentence. She gets special food daily, cooked by special chefs in a special kitchen near the women’s cell. In the same jail special treatment was extended to Abdul Karim Telgi, convicted in fake stamp paper scam. Three to -four convicted prisoners have been allotted to Abdul Telgi for body massage. The fake stamp paper, that he along with his agents used to produce, were allegedly sold to banks, insurance companies and brokerage firms.
We always read about Bihar and UP jails where politician like Shahabuddin and Lalu Prasad Yadav were imprisoned; they used to run their network from jail. Person with filthy money can manipulate everything to anything, in this country. Everything is for sale even the judiciary, administration and politics. Whether its Congress or BJP’s rule, the dirty policemen are the same kind of breed. Telgi like people are just the stink of the corruption. The real perpetrators of the crime are enjoying their freedom and luxuries. Even after so many years the media did not dare to go into the case and find the truth. Moreover, Karnataka is the last major state ruled by Congress. And this is of patronage, money and psuedo-secularism culture is therefore, not surprising. This is not the first time that Sasikala or Telgi has been offered special facilities. There are many such examples of high profile personalities having managed to get what they want.
Nothing will change for long run, they come, they remain and they go from news and next day someone else grabs headlines, this saga will continue, because money does it all.
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