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Tihar's high profile inmates get Rs 2k per week

Last updated on: April 25, 2011 16:25 IST

Tihar's high profile inmates get Rs 2k per week

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Nivedita Mookerji in New Delhi

Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra, whose family networth is pegged at around Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion), is not allowed more than Rs 2,000 a week while he's in the Tihar Jail in Delhi.

It is the same for the other executives who were sent to judicial custody earlier this week over the 2G spectrum scam, along with Chandra.

They are DB Realty's Vinod Goenka, Reliance ADAG's Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara, and Hari Nair. Their collective networth is estimated at around Rs 36,000 crore (Rs 360 billion).

When asked whether these honchos, settled into a 5-star lifestyle, had any pocket money to buy food from the jail canteen, Tihar Law Officer Sunil Gupta said, they could meet visitors twice a week and get a maximum of Rs 1,000 per visit.

That makes it Rs 2,000 a week - enough to buy for themselves coupons for soft drink and snacks from the Tihar canteen!

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Photographs: Joshua Lott/Reuters
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During their twice-a-week meetings (interview in jail parlance) with family and visitors, these executives are also permitted to get home-cooked food. That's about all as far as luxury goes.

To a question on whether their morale was down, another Tihar official said: "No, all of them are fine and leading normal lives as they must have been preparing for this outcome."

Weeks before these executives were arrested, others allegedly involved in the 2G scam were taken into custody - the names included DB Realty's Shahid Balwa, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal.

Before that, former communications minister A Raja, his close aide R K Chandolia, former Department of Telecommunication secretary Siddhartha Behura were among the big names lodged in Tihar over the 2G case.

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Image: Former communications minister A Raja
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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Other high-profile inmates were Lalit Bhanot and V K Verma, who were arrested for financial irregularities in the Commonwealth Games. Bhanot and Verma were on the organising committee of the Games last year.

During free time - between 3 and 6.30 pm - Tihar resembles an exclusive who's who club where company honchos and bureaucrats mingle.

"They are seen and heard talking about their case quite often," an official said.

"Since these executives are under-trials, we cannot extract any labour from them," said Gupta, when asked about their work schedule.

Otherwise, their day looks like this: Wake-up time at 6 in the morning, followed by prayer Aye malik tere bande ham.

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Image: Tihar jail inmates

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Between 8.30 and 10.30 am, they read or teach under the Pado and Padao programme. They get free time between 10.30 am and 12 noon, when they can meet family and visitors only twice a week.

Thereafter, they are locked in the cell for 3 hours, when they watch TV or read newspapers.

It's free time again from 3 to 6.30 pm, when they take a stroll, chat, go to the library and even consult lawyers.

The battery of lawyers fighting their cases include Soli Sorabjee, Mukul Rohtagi, K T S Tulsi, Ranjit Kumar, Rajeev Nayar and N K Kaul.

The inmates' day ends early, at 6.30 pm, when they are locked up again till 6 in the morning. There are two meals with standard chapatti, rice, dal and vegetables, along with a tea-biscuit break.

 



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