Former telecom minister Andimuthu Raja (47), remanded to judicial custody by a city court in the 2G Spectrum and licences allocation scam, will share a 15feetX10feet room with suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer RK Sharma for the next two weeks. Raja is lodged in a VIP ward in Tihar Jail’s sub-jail number 1, comprising 35 inmates in five rooms.
Sharma, Raja’s roommate, was convicted by a fast track court in 2008 for the murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar in 1999. The room has an attached bathroom.
In the adjacent rooms at the VIP ward, Raja’s neighbours include suspended Indian Administrative Service officer Ravi Inder Singh and suspended assistant commissioner of police SS Rathi. While Singh was chargesheeted by the Delhi Police for allegedly passing sensitive information of the ministry of home affairs to unauthorized persons, Rathi was convicted in 2007 for killing two in Connaught Place.
Among Raja’s neighbours is convicted Pakistani national Mohammed Aarif alias Ashfaq, an alleged LeT operative, convicted in Red Fort attack.
Having arrived at the sub-jail’s entrance gate in a blue police van around 4. 30 pm, Raja was put through a metal scanner and was frisked; his belongings including English novels and non-fiction were also checked.
A jail official said that during a 90-minute conversation, “Raja said he ate only south Indian meals, that he would return home very soon. His arrest was politically motivated and legally untenable,” said the source.
Raja will be spending Thursday night on a mattress, with a blanket without a pillow. “Raja is entitled to getting tea at 7 am, lunch at 3 pm and dinner at 6 pm.” At 6 am and 7 pm daily, Raja would have to step out and stand in a queue and be counted with the rest of prisoners.