Maharashtra’s taxpayers have so far coughed up more than Rs 16 crore to maintain the country’s most high-profile prisoner, Ajmal Kasab.
Kasab, the only Pakistani terrorist caught alive during the 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai, is currently lodged in a special cell at the Arthur Road jail.
As the third anniversary of the 26/11 attacks draws near, data reveals that till July 2011, the state government has spent more than Rs 16 crore on Kasab - feeding him, tending to his health needs, buying medicines and providing him security. This amount does not include the legal expenses borne by the state to fight the case in court.
The legal bill, up to the time the case was challenged in the Supreme Court, was estimated to be Rs 12 lakh, which includes the fees of special public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam for 90 days of hearing.
Nikam’s fees have gone up for the Supreme Court hearing, for which he will be paid Rs 50,000 a day for every hearing in the court. He will fly business class (a Mumbai-Delhi return trip can cost up to Rs 70,000) and will be given accommodation in a VIP suite in the state guesthouse.
“We incurred a huge expense for creating a special enclosure for Kasab as he is a high-risk prisoner. After that, we have not had much of an expense other than what we have to pay for security. His food expenses roughly cost around Rs 27 a day,” said Medha Gadgil, principal secretary (home).
However, providing Kasab security is a costly affair. The state has to pay Rs 10.87 crore (cost up to July 2011) to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police for providing 20 commandos armed with sophisticated weaponry and communication equipment to guard Kasab round-the-clock.
This bill is estimated to touch Rs 14 crore by November 26.