Inspecting trial court judge Brijesh Kumar Garg, whose visit to Tihar's sub-jail four on Thursday had detected preferential treatment given to high-profile inmates, was allegedly accompanied by a city-based lawyer during his scrutiny of prison condition across the security ward and cells, was against the norms said jail sources.
The lawyer accompanying the inspecting judge had also allegedly interacted with a high-profile under-trial prisoner Abhay Srivastava, the former chairman-cum-managing director of National Aluminium Company Limited who is in judicial custody on bribery charges since February.
These were the findings of the internal inquiry into allegations of preferential treatment given to high-profile inmates by the jail staff, which was conducted by the department's vigilance chief Dinesh Gandhi. Gandhi's probe findings were submitted to the jail authorities on Monday.
"While interacting with under-trail prisoner Abhay Srivastava, the lawyer accompanying the inspecting judge, had remarked in the presence of other jail officials that Srivastava had been his client," said a jail source who has accessed the Tihar' probe's findings.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had in February arrested Srivastava for allegedly demanding and accepting bribes in the form of gold bricks. The agency, which also arrested his wife along with two alleged accomplices, claimed to have seized over 10kg of gold bricks worth Rs 2.11 crore and cash worth Rs 29.5 lakh from lockers and the residential premises of the accused in Delhi and Bhubaneswar.
Garg is in the group of judges assigned the task of inspecting the prison conditions in each of the 10 sub-jails in Tihar.
The inspecting judge, according to findings of Tihar's probe, had come without other court staff, which usually is the norm during such visits. The lawyer's presence with the judge during his inspection from 11.45am on Thursday till 2.5pm was mentioned in the statements given to Gandhi by several sub-jail four inmates and officials who interacted with them.
When HT contacted Garg about the claims made in Tihar's probe's findings regarding the lawyer accompanying him during his inspection, he said, "The law says that the accused should only be heard during the trial stage, and not before that."
Garg added, "If an accused makes allegations against the judge, then how reliable could those allegations be considered."
Despite several attempts, Tihar's spokesperson Sunil Gupta remained unavailable for his comments.
Tihar Jail authorities, acting on the findings of Gandhi's probe, had on Monday suspended three officials - two assistant superintendents and a head warder. The jail authorities also recommended to the ministry of home affairs to take disciplinary action against the sub-jail's former superintendent SC Bharadwaj.