Arms dealer Abhishek Verma, in judicial custody for allegedly violating the Official Secrets Act, has claimed there is a constant threat to his life from fellow inmates and people outside jail and of extortion.
The allegation were made in his plea for continuation of a separate jail van before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vidya Prakash. The court has called for a report from DCP III Battalion of Delhi Police on his plea.
Verma had moved the court against "withdrawal of facility of separate jail van notwithstanding constant threats for extortion and to his life".
He sought directions to the jail authorities for continuation of separate jail van for transportation from jail to court and back, hospital visits and meeting his wife in judicial custody due to high perception threats and extortion demands and life threats from hardcore criminal gangs and other persons.
Verma and his Romanian wife Anca Maria Neascu are in jail since June 21, 2012, in this case where they have been named in a charge sheet by the CBI, along with their company Ganton India Pvt Ltd and a former Wing Commander of Indian Air Force for allegedly possessing secret defence documents and supplying them to foreign nationals in violation of the Official Secrets Act.
In his plea, Verma told the court he was given separate jail van and was allowed to meet his wife in judicial custody on Saturdays due to his being a high-profile special case and perception of threat.
Verma said he also apprehended life threats from other inmates and individuals outside jail and bid for extortion.
He said that on February 26, he got to know from the jail staff that the prison authorities have withdrawn the separate jail van without any court orders and was even threatened by an unknown inmate.
He also said earlier when he was in jail in 2007 in another case, he was given a separate jail van after he was assaulted by an inmate and was under Y-category security while on bail.
Since he is an approver in another CBI case against him and a former deputy director of ED, "approvers face threat from other accused", he said.
Verma also said he is being "regularly defamed due to media hype given under instructions of his old foes and with media hype there is an increase in number of foes who look for opportunities of extortion".
A report sought by the court from jail superintendent said, "As per the office order by DG Prisons headquarters, responsibility of providing separate jail vans to undertrial prisoners incarcerated in Tihar jail would now be that of Delhi Police III Battalion and decision would be taken as per the threat perception in case to case basis."
The court was told that Verma's plea has been forwarded to DCP III Bn for necessary action at their end.
The court then called for a report from DCP III Battalion.