How valid are Mallya’s claims about the situation in Arthur Road Jail?

No Natural Light in Arthur Road Jail: Are Mallya’s Claims True?

Video Editor: Vishal Kumar and Abhishek Sharma

A consortium of Indian banks is fighting a case in London against the fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya in an effort to extradite him. During one of the hearings in this case, the British court asked the Indian authorities to provide a video footage of Barrack number 12 of Arthur Road jail.

Why is a British court concerned about Barrack number 12? The answer is that Barrack number 12 is the place where those accused of economic offences are lodged. So, if Vijay Mallya is extradited, his next address could be Barack number 12, Arthur Road jail.

But Mallya claims that the condition of the Indian jail is not good. That the jail barely gets natural light, and keeping him in such condition will be a violation of human rights.

But is Arthur Road jail actually in such terrible shape? How valid are Mallya’s claims?

The Quint spoke to those in charge of the jail and some others who were once lodged there.

‘Arthur Road Awaits an Undertrial, Not a VIP’

According to Maharashtra’s former IG (Prison) Meera Borwankar, despite the lack of funds and infrastructure, the jail is neat and clean. In a statement to The Quint, Borwankar said:

Despite the lack of funds and infrastructure the jail premises are very neat and clean and we are running it smoothly. Time has come for Vijay Mallya to reap what he has sown. The Barack No. 12 on Arthur Road jail is waiting for an undertrial, not a VIP.

An Insider’s Account of Arthur Road Jail

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Sandeep Deshpande had spent 6 days in Arthur Road jail after he was accused of vandalising the office of Mumbai Congress. Speaking to The Quint, Deshpande questioned the validity of the claims made by Mallya’s lawyers at the UK court.

During our protest, I spent six nights at Arthur Road jail. There is no inconvenience as claimed by Vijay Mallya in Arthur Road jail. EOW (Economic Offence Wing) criminals responsible for fraud were kept in a barrack above ours. There are sufficient light sources in both the barracks. On either side of the barrack, there are 9-10 windows through which natural light enters the room. There is a lot of free space outside (the barrack) where you can roam freely and interact with other inmates.
Sandeep Deshpande, MNS Leader

Arthur Road jail was inaugurated in 1926 and is one of the biggest and oldest jails in Mumbai. The capacity of the jail is 2,200 inmates, but according to sources, there are more than 3,500 prisoners lodged at the jail at present.

(This story was first published on Quint Hindi)