Bengaluru: A report by a one-man committee of retired IAS officer Vinay Kumar has vindicated the allegations made by former DIG prisons D. Roopa that V.K. Sasikala, the close aide of former Tamil Nadu chief minister late J. Jayalalithaa, received special treatment inside Parappana Agrahara Central Prison.
The 22-page report, accessed by Deccan Chronicle, revealed, "The entire block of five cells, together with their corridor, was open to use by Sasikala and Ilavarasi alone. The shelves were empty but tell-tale marks of the things having been removed from them were still there." Sasikala (59) was convicted in a disproportionate assets case and jailed for four years.
The report points out Sasikala and Ilavarasi were free to move anywhere in the prison and had countless number of visitors, in violation of the prison rulebook. The proof includes short video clips of Sasikala and Ilavarasi walking around in sarees, not issued by the prison, with bags hanging from their shoulders. “These clips carry evidence of the fact that they have the freedom to use their personal clothing and are escorted by Superintendent Anitha, who had been appointed as their security in charge by the DGP&lG Prison,” the report notes.
The treatment given to Sasikala was questioned by Ms Roopa when she was DIG prison. She had alleged that a bribe of Rs 2 crore was paid to jail officials, including then DGP H.N. Satyanarana Rao for doling out special privileges, following which the government formed the probe committee.
Days later, Ms Roopa was transferred to the traffic section and Mr Rao, who was to retire by the month-end, was asked to go on leave.
The committee submitted the report to the government on November 17, 2017, but was not made public. Recently, an RTI activist, Narasimha Murthy, filed the query and got the report reportedly after paying bribes to officials.
The committee said they investigated the CCTV footage and a register maintained by jail authorities. The report stated that prison officials had falsified several records of Sasikala and Ilavarasi meeting visitors.
Cramping of women inmates
The report says, "The authorised strength of the Female Barrack is 100 prisoners and it has 28 cells i.e. an average of about four prisoners per cell. When 5 cells are taken away for 2 prisoners, the cramping of prisoners in the remaining 23 cells will be much more than the authorised level. On 24.7.2017 the number of prisoners in Female Barrack was 124 i.e an average of over 5 prisoners in the remaining 23 cells, excluding 5 for Sasikala."
Special privileges for Sasikala
Despite the court disallowing class-A treatment to Sasikala and Ilavarasi, she received special privileges, including a corridor with five rooms, a kitchen, a private cook, wearing of normal clothes, barricading of adjoining corridors, tasting of evening meal and tea, two plastic chairs, eight additional women warders, facility of "entertainment" and using fruits, biscuits, soaps, toothpaste and clothes.
All these facilities were allegedly provided on oral instructions from H.N.S. Rao. Though the case is being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, no arrest has been made so far, even after one year of submitting the report.