Phone use:Ex-Minister to stay four more days in prison

Jail bars
Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 7: Former minister and Kerala Congress (B) leader R Balakrishna Pillai, serving a one-year rigorous imprisonment in a corruption case since February last, will have to spend an additional four days in the jail for making phone calls in violation of prison rules.

A jail official, who probed the charge against Pillai has said in his report to the ADGP (Prison) that this was the penalty to be imposed on a prisoner for making phone calls in breach of prison rules, official sources said. Pillai, who has been shifted to a super speciality hospital for treatment some three weeks ago, landed in trouble last week after he spoke to a local TV channel reporter over phone.

The phone conversation, aired by the channel despite Pillai's plea to keep it confidential, happened a day after a teacher in school owned by him was found brutally attacked. The LDF opposition immediately seized on the issue to embarrass the Congress-led UDF Government, in which KC(B) is a partner, by linking Pillai's phone use and the attack on the teacher.

An LDF delegation led by opposition leader V S Achuthanandan yesterday called on Governor M O H Farook urging him to prevail upon the government to order a judicial probe into "undue facilities" extended to Pillai.

The LDF leaders argued special treatment extended to Pillai amounted to sabotaging the rule of law and undermining the Supreme Court judgement which held him guilty in a corruption case. According to the Prison Act, speaking to a prisoner over phone is also an offence which could earn imprisonment upto one year and a fine of Rs 10,000.


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