Ailing Tihar inmate accuses medical officer of extortion

The director general of prisons (Tihar) has been ordered by a court to look into an allegation of extortion by a senior medical officer of the jail from ailing undertrials to refer them to government hospitals.

Chief metropolitan magistrate Vidya Parkash sought the DG’s (Prison) “indulgence” into the matter on a complaint by jailed undertrial Harshad Alam and after the jail superintendent had failed to respond to the court’s notice dated October 8 on Alam’s plea.

In his plea, Alam had alleged that the senior medical officer of jail number 1 is asking for bribe to provide him proper medical treatment and referring him to a government hospital for better medical treatment of his heart and lung ailments.

“Keeping in view the fact that no report/reply has been received from concerned superintendent of jail number 1 despite specific directions issued by the court on October 8, court is of the view that the matter requires indulgence of DG (prisons) so that remedial measures, if any, may be taken in respect of providing proper medical treatment to undertrial prisoners in accordance with law,” the CMM said.

In his plea, Alam had said that he suffers from an enlarged heart and “pleural thickening” of left lung for which he was being treated at Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital and AIIMS but “the same were stopped and the SMO demanded money from him to continue treatment at the hospitals.”

He also told the CMM that he had earlier reported the matter to a Saket magisterial court, which is also hearing a case against him, but the SMO prepared a false report saying Alam can be treated at the jail hospital itself.

Alam alleged that when he "visited the dispensary of the SMO, his assistant told him that he needed to pay Rs 20,000 to get his treatment at the government hospital.

“He also said he has been shifted from jail number no. 1 to jail no. 3 “without any rhyme or reason and to teach him a lesson for bringing the issue to the court's notice.”

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