He might be prisoner number 3312 in the Birsa Munda Central Jail records, but convicted Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad is a VIP prisoner and he is getting all the amenities due to such prisoners as laid down by the jail manual.
Longer visiting hours in comparison with regular inmates, an upper division cell with a TV and two cooks, a generous supply of rice, fresh vegetables, mutton/chicken or fish, ghee, and seasonal fruits and the option of getting food from outside, are just some of the entitlements.
After a CBI court in Ranchi convicted Lalu in a 17-year-old fodder scam case on Monday, the former Bihar chief minister faces a jail term of three to seven years.
The VIP prisoner can also get the reading material of his choice —newspapers, books and magazines — pending approval of the jail superintendent. And in fact, on
Tuesday, when senior RJD parliamentarian Raghuvansh Prasad Singh dropped by to visit Lalu he gifted him a copy of the Bhagavad Gita. “I have advised him to read the book. Mahatma Gandhi used to keep the Gita with him all the time. By the time Lalu is halfway through it he will be released from jail.”
After the routine headcount in the morning and the evening, when the prisoners have to return to their barracks and cells, a VIP prisoner is also allowed to roam around in the prison premises for an extra hour.
According to Jharkhand IG Prisons, Shailendra Bushan, the status of VIP prisoners is accorded to a former union cabinet minister, minister of state, member of parliament (MP), member of state legislator, former vidhan sabha speakers/ deputy speakers, sitting MPs/MLAs, and those authorised by the judicial and executive magistrates.