Bihar’s RJD leader Mohammad Shahabuddin may find it hard to have his way in Tihar jail where he is expected to be moved next week. The prison authorities have decided to keep him in a high-security ward and do away with the alphabetical system of lodging prisoners to keep his activities under check.
Senior officials at Tihar Jail had swung into action soon after Supreme Court ordered on Wednesday that Shahabuddin be moved to the jail in the national capital to ensure free and fair trial in the cases pending against him.
“We will be hand picking a few security personnel and other jail staff with unquestionable track record so that they are not influenced or intimidated by Shahabuddin,” a senior jail official told HT on Thursday. Over a dozen security men from Tamil Nadu Special Police (TSP) will be deployed to keep an eye on the activities of Shahabuddin and other inmates of the high-security ward. Most of these security personnel are not fluent in Hindi and it is expected that language barrier will deter any attempts by Shahabuddin to influence them.
“Shahabuddin is known to gather other inmates and threaten jail staff. His activities will be monitored round the clock. The world will be monitoring his stay in Tihar, we will not take any chances,” the official said.
Initially, Shahabuddin will not be allowed to interact with other prisoners. The high-security wards come with bathroom facility and inmates are served food inside. The wards also have courtyards where inmates can take a stroll at certain timings.
“We will observe his activities over a period of time. If he does not indulge in activities for which he is notorious, he may be allowed access to other inmates over a period of time,” another officer said.
As per rules governing prisoners lodged in high-security wards, Shahabuddin will be allowed to make two phone calls, of five-minutes each, every week. Meeting his relatives or lawyers will be permitted twice a week.
Inmates in Tihar are generally allotted jails as per an alphabetical system. “To put him in a sub-jail where he can’t wield his political power or influence, we will bypass the alphabetical system if need be,” the official said.
Since Shahabuddin is undergoing trial in some cases, he will be lodged in any of sub-jail numbers one, three, four, seven or eight which lodge undertrials as well as convicts. Sub-jails two and five are reserved for convicts and six is for women prisoners.
Each of the sub-jails at Tihar is capable of arranging videoconferencing, so holding pending trials against the RJD leader will not be an issue.
Sudhir Yadav, director general (Delhi Prisons), said Shahabuddin’s transfer to Tihar will be handled well as the jail has lodged politicians, dreaded gangsters and terrorists without any problems.
“We are still awaiting certain details about his transfer to Tihar, but I can assure you that he will receive no preferential treatment here,” Yadav told HT.