Following allegations of special treatment extended to Sasikala Natarajan, an RTI activist has claimed that prison authorities bent rules for her. RTI replies to a series of queries raised on Sasikala Natarajan's visitors and work in the Bengaluru Central Jail exposes how officials allowed visitors indiscriminately in violation of jail manual.
According to the RTI replies accessed by OneIndia, prison authorities allowed more than four visitors in a day to meet the disproportionate assets convict on multiple occasions. "The jail manual mandates that only four people are allowed to visit a convicted prisoner every 15 days. But on more than three occasions six or seven people were allowed to visit Sasikala in violation of the jail manual," said activist and advocate Narasimhamurthy.
Other queries also reveal that time limit for visitors was not applied in the case of Sasikala Natarajan. Official records of visitors meeting Sasikala as late as 7 PM have been registered. The visiting time according to the jail manual is between 11 AM and 5 PM every week for an undertrial prisoner and once in 15 days for a convicted prisoner. "The replies also reveal that no facilities have been withdrawn to Sasikala Natarajan despite Roopa D's allegations of special treatment being meted out to her. RTI reply also says that no outside food is allowed to be given to the prisoner," Narasimhamurthy added.
The replies reveal that on July 11, seven people were allowed to visit Sasikala. The jail manual says that four people, or six in the case of family members, are allowed to meet a prisoner. The matter has now been escalated to the state's Home Minister. "I have sought a report on the same. If violations are found, action will be initiated against those who flouted norms," said Ramalinga Reddy, Karnataka's Home Minister.
The RTI query also reveals that Sasikala Natarajan has not been assigned any work since she is under simple imprisonment. She is also entitled to a copy of a Tamil newspaper in the jail and has sought no other newspaper. The RTI replies reveal that rules were bent for Sasikala, adding strength to allegations leveled by former DIG prisons D Roopa over VIP treatment being given to Sasikala.
Meanwhile, the Karnataka government is yet to react or make public the report of a retired police officer into the irregularities in Bengaluru Central Prison. Home Minister Reddy said that a final report is still awaited.