The Delhi High Court on Monday questioned jail authorities over the recovery of four knives from Tihar prison premises where gangster Tillu Tajpuriya was stabbed to death allegedly by inmates belonging to a rival gang and termed it as an “unacceptable state of affairs”.
The court asked why no preventive or remedial action was taken by authorities when the incident took place as the entire incident was captured on CCTV cameras installed in jail premises.
Justice Jasmeet Singh issued notice to the Director General of Prisons (Delhi), Delhi government, and Commissioner of Police on a petition filed by Tajpuriya’s father and brother seeking an investigation by the CBI into the “brutal murder” inside Tihar Jail premises on May 2.
The petitioners, represented through senior advocate Maninder Singh, said they are DTC drivers and sought adequate security for themselves.
The senior lawyer argued that it was a case of connivance between the jail officials and the offending inmates who killed Tajpuriya as it could be seen in the video that no jail official intervened to save him. He said the deceased was earlier lodged in Rohini jail and was shifted to Tihar jail just 15 days before the incident.
The high court directed the Delhi Police to ensure the safety and security of both the petitioners and listed the matter for further hearing on May 25.
The judge watched the video in the court and said it was seen that Tajpuriya was taken out of his cell and stabbed to death.
The court said it was unable to comprehend why no action was taken by jail officials and sought to know if any of the officials have been suspended for the lapses.
“This is totally an unacceptable state of affairs. The security of every prisoner is on the respondent. I am unable to gather what is happening here,” the judge said.
The high court directed additional standing counsel Rahul Tyagi, representing the state, to file an affidavit within one week through the Director General of Prisons explaining how four knives were found in prison.
It also asked the jail superintendent concerned to be present in the court on the next date of hearing.
“The affidavit shall also explain if the incident was captured on CCTV cameras installed in Tihar jail premises, why no preventive/remedial action was taken by the respondents.
“The affidavit shall indicate the responsibility and accountability of the jail officials responsible for the lapses,” the judge said.
A CCTV video from Tihar jail which emerged on social media purportedly showed Tajpuriya being attacked in front of security personnel and also when they were carrying him away after he was stabbed.
Tajpuriya was assaulted with improvised weapons allegedly by four members of the Gogi gang inside the high-security prison on May 2.
The accused attacked him for a second time when he was being carried away by security personnel, according to the footage.
In the footage, it appeared that the security personnel were mute spectators while the assailants kept repeatedly attacking the gangster.
According to jail officials, seven personnel of the Tamil Nadu Special Police (TNSP), who was on duty at a Tihar prison cell when Tajpuriya was stabbed to death, have been suspended following the incident.
During the hearing, the counsel for the state and jail authorities submitted that it was a case of gang war and this was done by Tajpuriya’s rival gangsters.
He said the case has been transferred to the Special Cell of Delhi Police for investigation and that the accused inmates had cut the bars of the prison cell.
To this, the judge said, “Should I record that you (jail officials) are not responsible and prisoners are free to cut the jail bars? This is unacceptable.”