Prisoners brutalised for revealing Sasikala's jail comforts, probe finds

Prisoners brutalised for revealing Sasikala's jail comforts, probe finds
Prison inmates were tortured for exposing how politically influential convicts were getting VIP comforts at Parappana Agrahara jail, the State Human Rights Commission has confirmed.

The commission has issued a notice to Krishna Kumar, then chief superintendent of the city’s central jail, after Soumendu Mukherjee, inspector general of police (SHRC), submitted a 72-page report on what transpired on July 16.

That day, a row erupted among the top brass after D Roopa, then deputy-inspector general (prisons), alleged HNS Rao, then director general of police (prisons), had received a bribe of Rs 2 crore to provide undue privileges for V K Sasikala, Tamil Nadu politician convicted in a disproportionate wealth case.

 Meera C Saksena, chairperson of the State Human Rights Commission, told DH, “We took up a suo motu case and ordered an inquiry after the media reported some prisoners had been beaten up badly."

During his investigation, Mukherjee met the battered inmates, moved to other prisons a day after they spoke out about the irregularities.

Telling footage

CCTV footage examined by Mukherjee showed the inmates limping as they were being transferred out of Parappana Agrahara jail. It also showed some prisoners being taken away on wheelchairs.

His report says the prisoners were treated inhumanly not just for revealing what was happening, but for protesting when Roopa was transferred out of her prisons posting. The protesters were taken to a room, lined up and thrashed, the report has found.

 “Some of them were in a bad shape, and yet they were moved to other prisons,” Meera said. In the wee hours of July 17, 32 prisoners from Parappana Agrahara were taken to prisons in Ballari, Kalaburagi and Belagavi.

“Officers there resisted it as the prisoners had not been medically examined, but the inmates were forcibly lodged there,” Meera said.

 Krishna Kumar, the jail officer in the dock for the thrashing, is now posted in Kalaburagi. He has to appear before the commission on October 23 to give his statement.

“It is a detailed investigation. I visited Parappanana Agrahara and other prisons,” Mukherjee told DH. He refused to reveal details of his report, saying it was up to the government to act on it.

Bribe was Rs 2 crore: Top cop

The trigger for the July brutality was DGP D Roopa submitting a report on VIP privileges being afforded in jail to Sasikala, sacked AIADMK general secretary, and Abdul Kareem Telgi, kingpin of the fake stamp paper scandal.

Providing additional privileges to convicts is a violation of prison rules. Roopa alleged her boss H N S Rao had taken a bribe of Rs 2 crore to spare Sasikala prison hardships.

Narcotics was widely in use inside Parappana Agrahara. Of 25 inmates surveyed, 18 tested positive for drug use, Roopa’s report said.

Battered twice

In one case, a prisoner was brutalised in two prisons in quick succession. Krishna Kumar beat up Shivakumar in Parappana Agrahara and packed him off to Kalaburagi.

When he was transferred there, Krishna Kumar used the opportunity to torture Shivakumar again, according to the State Human Rights Commission.
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