‘Mallya Won’t Be Lodged In The Luxurious Cell Shown in Jail Video’
Fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya might not be lodged in the same cell as shown in the eight-minute video submitted by the Indian government in the Westminster Court in London.
He will not be given any special privileges or treated as a high-security prisoner and kept in isolation, said Rajwardhan, Special Inspector General (Prisons) in Maharashtra in an exclusive telephonic conversation with The Quint. Rather, he will be lodged with other inmates in Barrack number 12 of the Arthur Road Jail.
As per the rule, Vijay Mallya will not be kept in isolation at all. He will be lodged with other inmates.Rajwardhan, Special Inspector General (Prisons), Maharashtra
Mallya had earlier filed an application in the London Court, saying that Indian jails were overcrowded with poor hygiene conditions, as his defence for not being extradited to India.
When asked whether Mallya will be considered a high-security prisoner and segregated from other prisoners, Rajwardhan said Mallya could not be considered one because “a high-security prisoner is a terrorist or a violent prisoner, somebody who has committed a violent kind of a crime”.
He further added that Mallya is an economic offender, and so cannot be considered a high-security prisoner.
This raises the question, has the Indian government clarified to the London court that Mallya will be lodged in the same cell as shown in the video, and whether he will be there along with other inmates?
Luxurious Cell Shown in CBI’s Video
Rajwardhan became tight-lipped when asked about the eight-minute video submitted by the Indian Government to the Westminster Court in London on Arthur Road Jail’s condition.
The video was shot by the CBI, they are the investigative agency, the Honourable Court of London directed the Indian Government to to record the video and submit there.Rajwardhan, Special IG Prison, Maharashtra
The eight-minute video submitted by the CBI to the London court, as reported by CNN-IBN, shows Barrack number 12 of the jail, where Mallya will be lodged, situated in an independent building. It shows six important features of the cell:
- The building is well-guarded from both sides.
- The wide corridor that leads to the cell has fresh air and light.
- The cell is spread out over 300 sq feet and is 15 feet wide and 20 feet long. One side of the barrack is protected by an iron wall and the other side has windows and ventilators.
- The cell has an attached bathroom, seemingly unused, with modern amenities.
- The barrack has 3 fans, 6 tube-lights and 5 ventilators.
- It also has a 40-inch Plasma TV.
Former IG Prisons’ Has a Counterview
According to former IG (Prisons) Meeran Chadha Borwankar, Mallya will be considered a high-security prisoner and will be initially lodged in isolation if extradited to India, she says.
Mallya can be considered a high-security prisoner because he has acquired the image of a guy who cheated the country and the public, therefore he can be attacked in the prison.Meeran Chadha Borwankar, former IG Prisons, Maharashtra
But when she was asked pointedly whether the Prison Manual allows 300 square feet for a prisoner who is kept in isolation, she said:
It could be that Vijay Mallya will be kept in isolation for a few days, and maybe later other prisoners will be moved into his cell. That’s why he is given a big cell.Meeran Chadha Borwankar, former IG Prisons, Maharashtra
Is the video showing a luxurious cell and pristine bathroom just an attempt by the Indian government to get Mallya back at all costs?
Colourful Tiles in Bathroom Aren’t Permissible: Former IG Prisons
The eight-minute video in Barrack number 12 of Arthur Road Jail shows a seemingly unused bathroom, with colourful tiles and a WC.
The first question that comes to mind when watching it is – is this for real? Do Indian jails actually have such clean and hygienic bathrooms?
When we asked the same question to Special IG (Prisons) Rajwardhan, he said the video was shot by the CBI in a jail, which means that it exists. As far the colourful tiles are concerned, only the Public Works Department can answer that question, he said.
Borwankar, when asked, was more forthcoming. She said:
“The video and photos shown on the TV news channels are of Arthur road jail. It seems that the cell has been freshly painted. As per the law, white tiles are customarily used in prison’s bathroom and not such flowery tiles which were shown in the video.”
Big Cell, Pristine Bathroom... Really?
Now that the IG Prisons has clarified that Mallya will not, in fact, be kept in isolation as the CBI’s video implies, this leads to other questions:
- Did the Indian Government inform the London court of how many inmates will be lodged with Mallya in Barrack number 12?
- Did the Indian government also inform the London court about what kind of criminals will be lodged with Mallya?
- Does the cell shown in the video submitted to the London court – which has a pristine bathroom, decked up with seemingly new paint and tiles – give a realistic picture of the conditions in the Arthur Road Jail?