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Hard life for high-profile inmates in jail

The Karunanidhi family reunion at Tihar Jail contained scenes of powerful emotion that the DMK patriarch might have applauded in a tragic play. Kanimozhi was sent to Tihar after her bail plea was rejected  in 2G Scam case. Kanimozhi cried when she met her father, M Karunanidhi, in Tihar jail on Monday. The DMK MP told, it was a very emotional meeting. We cried. Dad is very upset.”An emotional M Karunanidhi today met his daughter and DMK MP Kanimozhi, arrested in the 2G spectrum case, at the Tihar jail here and spent 30 minutes with her. The 87-year-old DMK President drove to the jail at around 5.30 PM accompanied by his wife Rajathi Ammal, Kanimozhi’s husband Aravindan and grand son Aditya. 

karunanidhi

karunanidhi

Karunanidhi, who arrived here this morning, met Kanimozhi at the deputy jail superintendent’s office and spent over 30 minutes with her. Emotions ran high when Karunanidhi and Kanimozhi came face-to-face for the first time ever since she was arrested and sent to jail on Friday last. “The family members were with Kanimozhi for nearly 30 minutes.”we were not monitoring the meeting,” Neeraj Kumar, DG Prisons, Tihar jail, told reporters after the meeting. 

It was a complete family affair as Karunanidhi and Rajathi Ammal spent time talking to their daughter in the jail. Rajathi Ammal is camping in New Delhi since Friday. Karunanidhi and his family members were offered tea by the prison authorities. Sources said it was a “very emotional” meeting and they were not disturbed by the jail authorities during the meeting.
Later, the DMK chief met former telecom minister and his trusted colleague A Raja and Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar, both in jail in connection with the scam. Karunanidhi’s family members were not present at the meeting. 

After meeting his daughter, Karunanidhi, who was planning to return to Chennai this evening, came back to the hotel where he is staying. Later, home minister and senior Congress leader from Tamil Nadu P Chidambaram met him. At the jail, Karunanidhi’s car was allowed to go till the entrance of the jail no.6 considering his age. A request in this regard was made by a DMK MP, Kumar said. Several party MPs and senior DMK leaders also accompanied Karunanidhi to the jail premises but they did not meet Kanimozhi. Billed as purely a “personal visit” by senior DMK leaders, Karunanidhi did not meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi during his day-long stay. 

Karunanidhi meets Sonia Gandhi whenever he visits New Delhi. It has been the practice ever since the party aligned with Congress in 2004. Earlier, with tears rolling down her eyes, Union Minister M K Alagiri’s wife Kanthi met Kanimozhi at a trial court and consoled her. Kanthi, who arrived here this morning, went to the court along with her son Durai Dayanithi and others to the special CBI court at the Patiala House court complex and they spoke to her for a few minutes. The DMK chief has been maintaining that his daughter was “innocent”. Karunanidhi had on Saturday in a epistle to party cadres put up a spirited defence of Kanimozhi, saying her only crime was being a shareholder of Kalaignar TV. “The arrest is a vendetta against DMK and my family ranging from Kanyakumari to Himalayas,” Karunanidhi said. However, the DMK patriarch said he was confident of winning the “final war.”

Neeraj Kumar IPS (DG)

Neeraj Kumar IPS (DG)

Former telecom minister A. Raja spends his day in a 15×10 feet cell in Jail No. 1 of Delhi’s Tihar Jail. The cell doesn’t have a bed. Charged with facilitating a Rs 1,76,000-crore scam, he sleeps on the floor using two of the six blankets given to him as a mattress. Says Neeraj Kumar, director general prisons (Delhi), “Inside the jail, no one is a VIP. High-profile prisoners have been extended no extra facilities unless permitted by the court.” In Raja’s case, the court has granted him permission to get home-cooked food twice a week. Two conditions come attached: it should contain no curry and fruits.

Former Satyam boss Ramalinga Raju

Courts have been more generous to some other high-profile prisoners. A court directed the Central Prison in Chanchalguda in Hyderabad to accord “special remand prisoner status” to former Satyam boss M. Ramalinga Raju. Prisoners have the right to apply for this status on the basis of their social standing and economic profile before being incarcerated. There are less than 20 prisoners in the special category among the 13,000 lodged in different jails across Andhra Pradesh.
The special status entitles Raju to better living conditions. Unlike Raja, Raju has a cot, a mattress, two pillows, a mosquito net, a reading table with a chair, and an additional easy chair in his prison cell. The ‘special status’ also enables him to get fruits, something that is denied to an ordinary remand prisoner like Raja. Raju is also entitled to fresh clothes and reading material. Like ordinary prisoners, he is allowed two visitors a week. Other privileges to those granted special status by a court include a barber on call. Ordinary remand prisoners have to wait for their turn: there are usually only 15 barbers for every 1,000 prisoners.

Haldiram co-owner Prabhu Shankar Agarwal
Life in prison, even with special privileges, is worse than in a hospital bed. Nine months after he was first imprisoned, Raju was moved to an air-conditioned ward in Hyderabad’s Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences after he was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and a heart ailment. He stayed there for 10 months before being granted bail by the high court. The Supreme Court cancelled his bail 84 days later and sent him back to prison.
Manu Sharma, sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Jessica Lall, managed to get parole for two months in September 2009 to look after his ailing mother. Keen to make up for the lack of a social life in prison, Sharma hit Delhi’s clubbing circuit with a vengeance only to get into a public brawl at a nightclub. His parole was cancelled.

r k sharmaRaja, for the moment, seems content with socialising within Tihar’s walls. Prison guards saw him in conversation with R.K. Sharma, a former IPS officer convicted for the murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar. According to Kumar, the prisoners are given ample opportunity to get together. “There are designated hours when prisoners are allowed to visit the common room or the sports field,” he says. Sharma is reportedly an enthusiastic sportsperson and captains his jail’s Twenty20 cricket team. Tihar Jail also has a television in each barrack.

Jesica Lall murder convict Manu Sharma
Some VIP prisoners help improve the quality of life of their fellow inmates. Prabhu Shankar Agarwal, co-owner of the Rs 500-crore Haldiram Bhujiawala snacks and eateries chain, spent a number of months in Kolkata’s Alipore Central Jail, accused of conspiring to kill a tea-stall owner, before he was released on bail last September. He spent his jail term doing what he knew best: supervising the kitchen. “He contributed to improve the quality of food which was being served in our canteen. Many times he would make snacks such as samosas and kachoris to demonstrate to others,” says an official at the jail. He trained at least 10 people in the art of cooking.
Social hierarchies don’t just dissolve in jail. A Tihar prisoner who was released three months ago says, “The social profile outside the jail prevails inside the jail. Some privileges get accorded in a clandestine manner.” He blames the lower level prison staff for this. In 2009, for example, Tihar officials recovered prohibited Internet data cards and pen drives from jail numbers 2, 3 and 4. In 2010, authorities recovered nine cellphones and 11 sim cards. A number of counter-measures like mobile phone jammers and cctv surveillance were installed after these incidents. Says the former prisoner: “Tihar jail is much better than other prisons, but high-profile prisoners can still buy their comfort.”

For a high-profile prisoner, Raja seems to have caused minimal problems for the authorities and made few demands. Says Kumar: “He is cooperative and we have no issues with him.” Raja follows the jail routine to the tee. He gets up at 5 a.m. and arrives punctually for breakfast at 6 a.m. At 7 p.m., he lines up with the other prisoners for a headcount before all are locked in their respective cells for the night.

“Jail is a great leveller,” says Kumar. But a privileged few will always be more equal than others.Kanimozhi joins celebrity line-up in Tihar jail.

Kanimozhi, DMK MP and former Tamilnadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi’s daughter, is the latest high-profile entrant to Tihar Central Jail — following in the steps of over a dozen VIPs who are already lodged in India’s largest prison.’Kanimozhi is already in Tihar. She is in Jail number 6, which is women’s cell, and ward number 8. She is kept in a separate cell,’ R.N. Sharma, deputy inspector general for prisons.

Sharma also informed that there will be no VIP treatment for Kanimozhi, who is used to comforts of high life.Like the other high-profile entrants, she will also follow the jail’s schedule.’She has been given a separate cell with attached toilet. The cell has television, fans and light. She can have south Indian food. This is not a special allowance as such because we give many other jail inmates who take south Indian food like idli, vada and sambar,’ Sharma added.He also said that as per norms she will be allowed to meet relatives twice a week.The court allowed Kanimozhi, 43, to carry her medicines, books and reading glasses to the jail. It even allowed her home food, but declined her plea to be allowed to continue wearing her nose-pin while in jail.The court rejected the submission of her counsel that she be granted bail because she is a woman.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had named Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV chief Sharad Kumar as co-conspirators in its April 25 supplementary charge sheet after it traced an illegal money trail of Rs.214 crore in the 2G scam.’The allegations in the instant case are that parties were in conspiracy with each other and in the conspiracy, each party is considered agent of the other and one cannot perform his act or role without the support from other,’ said the court.

Some of the other high-profile inmates currently in Tihar Jail include former communications minister A. Raja — an accused in the 2G spectrum case, former chief of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Suresh Kalmadi, who is in custody over financial irregularities in the conduct of the games, and other senior officials of the organising committee.

Haldiram owner, four aides get life

Justice done, says tea-vendor who was shot at for being an ‘eyesore’ to a proposed food mall

“Ek mota sa gaddi, ek accha takia, aur ek kambal vej dena jail me. Aur tum bilkul fikr mat karo. Hum sab samhal lenge,” Haldiram’s owner Prabhu Shankar Agarwal told his wife as he emerged from the courtroom today with a life term. Agarwal’s wife looked depressed but not shattered.

Justice caught up with Agarwal and his associates when Judge Tapan Sen, of the 4th Fast-Track City Civil Court at Bankshall handed down life terms for all the five convicted in the case. The other four are Arun Khandelwal, promoter and developer and Haldiram’s associate, Gopal Tiwari, Manoj Sharma and Rajiv Sonkar, the three contract killers hired by Agarwal.

Agarwal, Khandelwal and Sonkar, Tiwari and Sharma were convicted under Sections 120B, 307/34 of IPC. Tiwari was booked and convicted on additional charges under Sections 27/25 of the Arms Act. Sharma’s wife Renu fainted outside inside the court premises when she learnt her husband would be behind bars for the rest of his life

High-profile prisoners chipping in for ‘better’ Tihar
They are behind bars for heinous crimes, but instead of sulking in their cells, some high-profile prisoners are using their ‘expertise’ to contribute towards bettering facilities in the Tihar jail and for its inmates.

Socialite Jessica Lall murder convict Manu Sharma, law student Priyadarshini Mattoo murder convict Santosh Singh, Shivani Bhatnagar murder case convict R K Sharma and RJD MP Pappu Yadav are some of the prisoners who have been sharing their acumen in respective fields in various activities concerning the prison.

“These high profile prisoners are constantly in the endeavour to do some good for the prison and its inmates. Manu Sharma has helped in improving the turnover of the jail factory, R K Sharma is helping the prisoners with their legal rights and Pappu Yadav has contributed towards the sports promotion inside the prison,” a jail official said.

The official said Manu Sharma’s business skills has helped in increasing the jail factory’s turnover this year to Rs 11.5 crores, which is almost double than last year’s.

Senior IPS officer R K Sharma who is serving life imprisonment for planning the murder of former journalist Shivani Bhatnagar is also helping the prisoners secure their rights using the RTI.

The official also credited Sharma for his efforts that led to prisoners’ being allowed to avail telephone facility within the high-security campus.

Priyadarshini Mattoo’s rape and murder convict Santosh Singh who is a qualified criminal lawyer is providing legal aid to many fellow prisoners.

Bihar politician Pappu Yadav, also a murder convict “has helped in sports promotion inside the prison. Any sports event inside the jail has huge participation by prisoners and it is so well organised that we have even invited a celebrity to inaugurate these events,” the official said.

Keywords: New Delhi, Tihar Jail, High-profile prisoners, Innovation, Facilities

Kalmadi falls in line – for food at Tihar Jail
He slept in a separate cell, attended a roll call at 6 a.m., stood in queue for breakfast, watched some TV and at times conversed with two other inmates. Suresh Kalmadi, the latest high-profile entrant at Tihar Central Jail, is not getting any VIP treatment in India’s largest prison and has made no special requests either, authorities said on Thursday.
Kalmadi, an MP and former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief, was visited by his wife and son on Thursday, a day after he was sent to 14-day judicial custody along with his aides A.S.V. Prasad and Surjeet Lal.
“He woke up and attended the roll call with other inmates at 6. At 7, he stood in the queue for breakfast where he was given two bread slices, one sabzi and a cup of tea. He was also given newspapers,” Sunil Gupta, Tihar spokesperson said.
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Kalmadi, used to the comforts of high life, is now lodged in Ward No.15 in Jail No. 4. He has been given a separate cell for security reasons.
This is a huge fall for a sports administrator who frequently ordered food from luxury hotels when he was preparing for the Commonwealth Games.
Spokesman Gupta said: “He and others accused in high-profile cases have been kept in separate single cells inside the same ward. This is for security reasons.”
No special requests have come from Kalmadi’s side and he is following the prison routine.
Kalmadi took a walk around the ward in the morning. He watches TV, which has a cable connection and is in his cell. At times, he converses with Prasad and Surjeet.
All three were sent to judicial custody till May 18 by the special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court for alleged involvement in irregularities in the organisation of the 2010 Delhi Games.
The same jail routine will be followed by Kalmadi while he is in Tihar, the authorities said.
Soon after breakfast at 7, the inmates take a bath and get ready. By 9 a.m. the lunch for the day should be collected, which include rotis, rice, dal and one vegetable dish.
Between 12 noon and 1 p.m., the inmates are allowed to meet visitors. Till 3, they are not be confined to the cell and can access the gym and read or watch television.
Around 3 p.m. a cup of tea and two biscuits are served. By 6 dinner has to be collected by the inmates themselves. The menu is the same as lunch.
Immediately after dinner, they are locked up in the cell again.
According to the CBI, Kalmadi has been arrested for buying TSR (timing scoring and result) equipment from a Swiss firm, Swiss Timing, at an allegedly inflated price of Rs. 141 crore for the Oct 3-14, 2010 Games.
And he does have high-profile company in Tihar.
Over the last two months, the jail has lodged several top ministers, civil servants and corporate CEOs.
Lodged there in connection with the 2G spectrum scam are A. Raja, former communications minister, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, D.B. Realty chief Shahid Balwa, cousin Asif Balwa and his partner Vinod Goenka, Unitech’s Sanjay Chandra and top officials of the Reliance ADAG group.
For irregularities in the the Commonwealth Games, organising committee officials like Lalit Bhanot, V.K. Verma, T.S. Darbari and Sanjay Mohindroo are also in jail.

Tihar’s top 10 VIPs: Very Important Prisoners

A trip to Tihar

After his arrest by the CBI in the Commonwealth Games Scam, Suresh Kalmadi may very soon find himself amongst familiar faces in the country’s largest jail. The Tihar Jail complex houses ten prisons and 12,000 prisoners against the sanctioned capacity of 6,250. Here are the top 10 high profile Tihar inmates.

A Raja

The most high-profile of all the high-profile Tihar inmates, is a former Union Cabinet Minister and also a leader of DMK. He is in jail following his arrest in the 2G Spectrum Scam.

RK Sharma

Former IPS Officer RK Sharma is serving a life term in Tihar for his involvement in the mirder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar.

Lalit Bhanot

Known as Suresh Kalmadi’s right hand man, Lalit Bhanot was the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Secretary-General and was arrested by the CBI in connection with the CWG Scam.

Manu Sharma

Siddharth Vashisht aka Manu Sharma, son of senior Congress leader Venod Sharma, is serving a life term for the murder of model Jessica Lall.

Santosh Singh

Santosh Kumar Singh, son of former IPS officer JP Singh, was awarded a death sentence in the rape and murder of Delhi college student Priyadarshini Mattoo. His sentence was latter commuted to life imprisonment.

Vinod Goenka

The billionaire behind bars, Vinod Goenka is the managing director and co-founder of the real estate company DB Realty. He was arrested by the CBI for his alleged involvement in the 2G Spectrum Scam.

Sanjay Chandra

Unitech managing director Sanjay Chandra is in custody for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore 2G Spectrum Scam.

Gautam Doshi

Another high-profile 2G Scam accused lodged in Tihar is the group managing director of Reliance – Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, Gautam Doshi, Group

VK Verma

VK Verma was the director general of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee and is lodged in Tihar following his arrest in the CWG Scam.

Who’s next?

If the series of high-profile arrests continue, who will be Tihar’s next very important prisoner? Watch this space.

Raja goes to Tihar Jail, looks calm

Former communications minister A. Raja, arrested in connection with the 2G spectrum allocation scam, was Thursday sent to Tihar Jail on 14 days judicial custody by a Delhi court. Wearing a dark grey safari suit, Raja looked calm and collected, his face betraying no emotion, as the order came.Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini, who sent him to judicial custody till March 3 as the investigation agency did not seek any further remand for interrogation, allowed Raja to have home-cooked food, his reading glasses and medicines in the jail.

Raja’s defence counsel Ramesh Gupta moved an application that the former minister be allowed to keep his medicines, reading glasses and books with him in Tihar Jail. He also requested that Raja be allowed to get home-cooked food.

Raja arrived at the jail in west Delhi in the evening, around 6 p.m. “He is in Jail No.1,” said Sunil Gupta, Tihar Jail spokesperson. Jail No.1 is meant for high-profile prisoners.

As the order came, Raja, who seemed very relaxed, shook hands with many of his supporters who had arrived in hordes to express their support for their leader. Most of his supporters have been thronging the court where the case has been heard.

Many of them were seen touching his feet and taking his blessing. One of his supporters had Raja’s photograph in his shirt pocket and said the minister is “our god”.

After the judge issued the order in the jam-packed courtroom, a posse of policemen led Raja away. He was kept in the lock-up along with petty criminals who were all waiting to be taken to Tihar Jail in the evening.

In the jail, he would be kept away from his former colleagues, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura and Raja`s former personal secretary R.K. Chandolia. On Feb 8, they were also sent to 14 days of judicial custody, which is to end on Feb 22.

Raja was arrested Feb 2 for his alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum allocation scandal, which caused huge losses to the national exchequer, and remanded in CBI custody initially for five days.

Raja, a member of the DMK, is alleged to have sold spectrum licences at below market rates, causing a loss of Rs.22,000 crore to the national exchequer, according to the probe agency.

He was asked to resign Nov 14 last year after the Comptroller and Auditor General indicted him in the scam for causing the nation huge losses.

On Feb 8, his remand was extended for two more days after the agency told the court that he was not cooperating during questioning and was being evasive.

The former minister’s custody was extended by two more days Feb 10 on the CBI’s plea. Thereafter, on Feb 14 (Monday), the court again extended his custody with the CBI for three more days.

Hard life for high-profile inmates in jail
Former telecom minister A. Raja spends his day in a 15×10 feet cell in Jail No. 1 of Delhi’s Tihar Jail. The cell doesn’t have a bed. Charged with facilitating a Rs 1,76,000-crore scam, he sleeps on the floor using two of the six blankets given to him as a mattress. Says Neeraj Kumar, director general prisons (Delhi), “Inside the jail, no one is a VIP. High-profile prisoners have been extended no extra facilities unless permitted by the court.” In Raja’s case, the court has granted him permission to get home-cooked food twice a week. Two conditions come attached: it should contain no curry and fruits.

Former Satyam boss Ramalinga Raju
Courts have been more generous to some other high-profile prisoners. A court directed the Central Prison in Chanchalguda in Hyderabad to accord “special remand prisoner status” to former Satyam boss M. Ramalinga Raju. Prisoners have the right to apply for this status on the basis of their social standing and economic profile before being incarcerated. There are less than 20 prisoners in the special category among the 13,000 lodged in different jails across Andhra Pradesh.
The special status entitles Raju to better living conditions. Unlike Raja, Raju has a cot, a mattress, two pillows, a mosquito net, a reading table with a chair, and an additional easy chair in his prison cell. The ‘special status’ also enables him to get fruits, something that is denied to an ordinary remand prisoner like Raja. Raju is also entitled to fresh clothes and reading material. Like ordinary prisoners, he is allowed two visitors a week. Other privileges to those granted special status by a court include a barber on call. Ordinary remand prisoners have to wait for their turn: there are usually only 15 barbers for every 1,000 prisoners.

Haldiram co-owner Prabhu Shankar Agarwal
Life in prison, even with special privileges, is worse than in a hospital bed. Nine months after he was first imprisoned, Raju was moved to an air-conditioned ward in Hyderabad’s Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences after he was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and a heart ailment. He stayed there for 10 months before being granted bail by the high court. The Supreme Court cancelled his bail 84 days later and sent him back to prison.
Manu Sharma, sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Jessica Lall, managed to get parole for two months in September 2009 to look after his ailing mother. Keen to make up for the lack of a social life in prison, Sharma hit Delhi’s clubbing circuit with a vengeance only to get into a public brawl at a nightclub. His parole was cancelled.

Raja, for the moment, seems content with socialising within Tihar’s walls. Prison guards saw him in conversation with R.K. Sharma, a former IPS officer convicted for the murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar.

According to Kumar, the prisoners are given ample opportunity to get together. “There are designated hours when prisoners are allowed to visit the common room or the sports field,” he says. Sharma is reportedly an enthusiastic sportsperson and captains his jail’s Twenty20 cricket team. Tihar Jail also has a television in each barrack.

jessica lall

jessica lall

Jesica Lall murder convict Manu Sharma
Some VIP prisoners help improve the quality of life of their fellow inmates. Prabhu Shankar Agarwal, co-owner of the Rs 500-crore Haldiram Bhujiawala snacks and eateries chain, spent a number of months in Kolkata’s Alipore Central Jail, accused of conspiring to kill a tea-stall owner, before he was released on bail last September. He spent his jail term doing what he knew best: supervising the kitchen. “He contributed to improve the quality of food which was being served in our canteen. Many times he would make snacks such as samosas and kachoris to demonstrate to others,” says an official at the jail. He trained at least 10 people in the art of cooking.
Social hierarchies don’t just dissolve in jail. A Tihar prisoner who was released three months ago says, “The social profile outside the jail prevails inside the jail. Some privileges get accorded in a clandestine manner.” He blames the lower level prison staff for this. In 2009, for example, Tihar officials recovered prohibited Internet data cards and pen drives from jail numbers 2, 3 and 4. In 2010, authorities recovered nine cellphones and 11 sim cards. A number of counter-measures like mobile phone jammers and cctv surveillance were installed after these incidents. Says the former prisoner: “Tihar jail is much better than other prisons, but high-profile prisoners can still buy their comfort.”

For a high-profile prisoner, Raja seems to have caused minimal problems for the authorities and made few demands. Says Kumar: “He is cooperative and we have no issues with him.” Raja follows the jail routine to the tee. He gets up at 5 a.m. and arrives punctually for breakfast at 6 a.m. At 7 p.m., he lines up with the other prisoners for a headcount before all are locked in their respective cells for the night.

“Jail is a great leveller,” says Kumar. But a privileged few will always be more equal than others.

Madhu Koda, former Chief Minister of Jharkhand, is probably one of the most oft-heard names on the news circuit today. Every news channel, in its top 10 headlines for the day, has something new to let India know about him. Coming to think of it, he deserves every bit of coverage he has been getting. He is, after all, at the centre of investigations into an alleged Rs 2500-crore money laundering and corruption scam, one which could well be one of the largest corruption scandals India has seen.

The Chief Minister of Jharkhand from 2006 to 2008, Madhu Koda is a 38- year old tribal leader who did well for himself in the political scenario and is currently an independent Member of Parliament. He is accused of misusing his power and position by illegally selling mining rights, granting mining and road- building contracts for hefty bribes, and siphoning the cash overseas. It might interest the reader to know that all these contracts hardly ever came good, as the roads, bridges, and other infrastructure were never built.

The key players in the scam were Madhu Koda and his close friend Binod Sinha, his brother Bikash Sinha, and two other brothers, Sanjay and Dhananjay Choudhury. All four of them were businessmen dealing with mining contracts.

Durga OraonThere are different versions of how the scam came to the notice of the media and the IT department. Some say that the spark for the corruption probe came from Durga Oraon, a graduate student and tribal member in Jharkhand, who was annoyed at the slow pace of development and the plight of the tribal residents. According to the Outlook, however, a series of investigative reports published from 2007 onwards in the local Hindi daily, Prabhat Khabar apparently blew the lid off the scam. Usha Martin group, among the state’s oldest and biggest mining companies, is a major shareholder in this newspaper. Madhu Koda, after several deliberations, turned down a long- time proposal of this company due to inexplicable reasons and reduced the company stakes from 76% to 49%. Many say that the downfall of the CM began with this decision, as a series of exposes began appearing in the newspaper.

Tihar’s high profile inmates get Rs 2k per week

Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra

Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra

Unitech Managing Director Sanjay Chandra, whose family networth is pegged at around Rs 5,000 crore (Rs 50 billion), is not allowed more than Rs 2,000 a week while he’s in the Tihar Jail in Delhi.

It is the same for the other executives who were sent to judicial custody earlier this week over the 2G spectrum scam, along with Chandra.

DB Realty's Vinod GoenkaThey are DB Realty’s Vinod Goenka, Reliance ADAG’s Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara, and Hari Nair. Their collective networth is estimated at around Rs 36,000 crore (Rs 360 billion).

When asked whether these honchos, settled into a 5-star lifestyle, had any pocket money to buy food from the jail canteen, Tihar Law Officer Sunil Gupta said, they could meet visitors twice a week and get a maximum of Rs 1,000 per visit.

That makes it Rs 2,000 a week – enough to buy for themselves coupons for soft drink and snacks from the Tihar canteen!

Koda’s trail in India
Tax officials, who made dozens of raids on the offices of Mr Koda, say they have found a paper trail showing that he spent the cash on assets ranging from an iron ore mine in Liberia to hotels, shopping centres and properties in Thailand, Dubai, South Korea and Bhutan. According to reports, money was carried on buses from Jharkhand to Mumbai and then allegedly transferred to Dubai via hawalas or illegal foreign currency brokers.

Last month, the Union Finance Ministry’s Directorate of Enforcement accused Mr. Koda and the eight alleged associates of money laundering, in a preliminary filing that will lead to formal charges later.

India has become the land of scams and scandals. Since 1992, the total money involved in scams (stands approximately at an appaling Rs. 73 lakh crore (courtesy: Outlook). Corruption on this scale presents major image problems for the country. Over the years, our political and judicial system has been modified so as to accommodate such scamster politicians.After his arrest by the CBI in the Commonwealth Games Scam, Suresh Kalmadi may very soon find himself amongst familiar faces in the country’s largest jail. The Tihar Jail complex houses ten prisons and 12,000 prisoners against the sanctioned capacity of 6,250. Here are the top 10 high profile Tihar inmates.

We have set up different levels of hierarchy in order to avoid any such swindling of funds. Obviously, it has been rendered ineffective, seeing the the increasing scale of each scam over the last decade. Funnily enough, a point to be noticed is that all these scams come to light only when the job is done, not while it is being pulled off.

This vicious system continues to empty the country’s coffers along with robbing the country of entirely of its scope for development. In many countries special courts have been set up to try corrupt rulers. It is time India took a step too. There should be permanent, fast track courts to ensure that these looting ‘ministers’ are brought to justice sooner rather than later. In a country where half the population struggles to manage even two square meals a day, the discovery of a Rs 4000 crore scam is appalling and calls for stringent punishment. This, along with stepping up pressures for public accountability, will probably make the ‘smart’ ministers think twice before considering the nation’s wealth as their own!!!


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