RJD president and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad, sentenced to five years in jail in a fodder scam case, faces security threats as he leads a life of comfort as a prisoner, Jharkhand Police has said.
The special branch of Jharkhand Police has alerted the jail administration about Lalu Prasad's security. "Lalu Prasad may face a security threat, and should be given adequate security in the jail," an official of the special branch said, expressing concern.
Lalu Prasad has been kept in the upper division of the jail, where he is separated from other prisoners. He has also been provided all facilities extended to VIP prisoners -- a separate bedroom, a mosquito net, cot and other facilities. There is also a TV set in the cell, and he is allowed to watch Doordarsan news and read newspapers every day.
"Jail authorities have been asked to keep a proper vigil on the security of Lalu Prasad. We have also informed police in Ranchi about the need for heightened external security of the jail," a source from the Birsa Munda Central Jail told IANS.
Jail sources say there are two counts on which security for the former Bihar chief minister is a concern: First, he receives many high-profile visitors; second, Maoists are among the prisoners in the jail.
The jail sources say scores of people meet Lalu Prasad each day. Some visitors are high-profile, like Jharkhand Tourism Minister Suresh Paswan and Water Resources Minister Annapurna Devi, who belong to the Rashtriya Janata Dal.
The RJD is a partner in the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led coalition government of Chief Minister Hemant Soren.
Former union minister and Ranchi Congress Lok Sabha MP Subodh Kant Sahay was also among those calling on Lalu Prasad in jail.
Lalu Prasad reportedly spends a few hours each day in the chamber of the jailor, meeting people and discussing various matters. He is also reported to have issued some jail officials veiled threats.
A Public Interest Litigation has been filed against the comforts that Lalu Prasad is allowed in jail.
"As per the jail manual, relatives can meet a prisoner once in 15 days. Jail manual 1001 says there should be no political discussion in the jail. Lalu Prasad meets around 100 people, including political leaders, everyday. He holds political discussions in jail," said Rajiv Kumar, the lawyer who filed the PIL.