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In Tihar, Amar Singh is a troublesome prisoner

September 12, 2011 16:10 IST's Sahim Salim speaks to Tihar jail authorities who say Amar Singh constantly keeps complaining about his healh problems and acts bossy with prison guards and some inmates.    

Rajya Sabha member and former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, who is currently lodged in Tihar Jail for his alleged role in the cash-for-vote scam, has been living it big even behind bars. According to highly placed jail sources, the 55-year-old acts bossy with prison guards and some inmates. 

Singh, who completed a week at Tihar on Monday, has been lodged in a 15x10 single cell with an attached toilet in jail number 3 and has a TV. He shares his cell with two other undertrials, who are more or less his attendants. These inmates clean the cell at least five times a day with a disinfectant. Even the bathroom is cleaned twice a day. Singh personally monitors these cleanings and often raises displeasure at the work.

"He keeps complaining about his health problems and so we have provided two undertrials to keep his cell clean. They don't even use this toilet but only clean it, as he (Amar Singh) has said that he needs a hygienic environment because of his condition," a senior police officer said.

Singh also constantly complains about the 'Indian-style' toilet in his bathroom. "He says he suffers from kidney infection and that the Indian-style toilet will worsen it. We have offered to install a western toilet for him," the jail source said. He also is reportedly very adamant and difficult with authorities.

"On Friday when we went to take his blood sample, he refused saying that conditions at Tihar and our facilities are not hygienic. He also keeps talking about his political stature," a Tihar source said.

Ever since he has been lodged in jail, he has had visitors every day. Tihar's law officer, Sunil Gupta said that as per jail manual, only two visits are allowed.

"We had to turn back many visitors because only two visits are allowed in a week," Gupta said. Sources, however, said that he met with many people during his seven-day stay in Tihar. He reportedly even argued with authorities for sending away his visitors.

There is a special ambulance on standby for Singh in case he develops medical complications. He is taken for medical checkups whenever he demands it.

Singh's lawyer, Hariharan, however, said that the jail environment was not sanitised. "He is a patient living on antibiotics; he needs to be at home in an isolated environment. They don't even have a Westernh toilet installed for him. He has kidney problems and is also a diabetic and is surviving on one kidney. Do we need another Rajan Pillai (business baron who died in Tihar jail reportedly due to liver cirrhosis) on our hands?" Hariharan said.

Hariharan said that Singh was supposed to be in Mt Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore for a check-up on September 9.

"His doctor mailed asking why he was not present. I have submitted the doctor's mail in court on Monday, which categorically states that Amar Singh has undergone surgery and needs to be kept under frequent and regular monitoring," Hariharan said.

Tihar sources said that as per court directions, Singh has been consuming home-cooked food.

"He needs to have hygienic food. He cannot be in a crowded or unhygienic environment. He is sharing a cell with three others, but his condition demands that he remains isolated," Hariharan said.

Talking about the medical report submitted by Tihar jail officials, Hariharan said, "The report filed by them is by the jail superintendent. A kidney specialist was not even called in, who would have assessed his condition as life threatening. The public prosecutor commented on the report. My question is, is a public prosecutor qualified to comment on kidney problems?"

Sahim Salim in New Delhi