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Tihar, Puzhal not different from Parappana Agrahara

The Hindu, in its edition dated 21 August published a photograph of AIADMK interim General Secretary V K Sasikala and her relative Elavarasi, both convicted for a prison term of four years, walking into the main entry area of the central prison in Bengaluru in civilian clothes. 

Our editorial consultant from Bengaluru, K V Krishnaswamy, filed a detailed report: “with neither her money power nor claimed ill-health winning her parole or transfer to a safe haven behind bars in her own state, she had to make the best of the bad bargain and she did. 

“First the facts: whistle-blower and Deputy Inspector General (Prisons), D Roopa, made public an explosive letter she had written to the Karnataka government where she had accused Bengaluru DG (Prisons) H N Suryanarayana Rao and other prison officials of accepting a bribe of Rs 2 crore from Sasikala for granting preferential treatment to her in the jail premises. Video clips telecast by several TV channels showed Sasikala having had an entire length of the corridor with several cells blocked off for herself and her kin and fellow inmate Elavarasi.”

The recent CCTV footage raises doubts whether the two convicts moved out of the prison, of course, in connivance with the prison officials. The whole episode is being enquired into by a committee led by retired IAS officer, Vinay Kumar. 

A senior journalist of Tamil Nadu who was inadvertently strayed into the cross- fire of the Sahara - SEBI dispute, suffered a month’s imprisonment at the Tihar jail in Delhi. He described the situation as not very different: he was demanded a lakh of rupees by prison officials for providing special amenities in the form of a cot and bedding, quality food, telephone connectivity… He confirmed that any such facility was available for a price and was extensively used by the prison inmates. 

We hear of such practices in the Puzhal prison in Chennai as well. We are  reminded of the old Tamil adage: panam paathalam varai paayum. (Money can flow to any depth).

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