Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, lodged in Jharkhand capital, Ranchi's Birsa Munda Central Jail, got injured in a lathi charge by jail authorities behind the bars in Ranchi on Monday forenoon. Koda, an accused in the alleged Rs 2000 crore money laundering and disproportionate assets case, is in the jail for last two years. State vigilance department had arrested him on November 30, 2009. His case was later handed over to the CBI for a thorough probe.
The former chief minister, presently parliamentarian from Singhbhum in south Jharkhand, has sustained injuries injuries on his chest, right hand, stomach and waist. After first aid by jail doctors, he was admitted to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), where he is convalescing. Doctors attending him feared that the former chief minister has broken his two right lower
ribs and right hand. "We are waiting for the X Ray reports for conformation," they told media personnel preferring not to be quoted.
Jail authorities said around 11 am two groups of prisoners, one led by Koda, engaged in fists and blows after a heated debate over demand for a consensus on restoration of special privileges to the VIP prisoners that included among other things permission to meet guests on Sundays. Authorities two weeks back had banned allowing guests to meet prisoners on Sundays. Protesting the move, Koda and his former cabinet colleagues, Enos Ekka and Harinarayan Rai, also in jail over corruption charges, went on hunger strike two days back. The trio also complaining against poor food quality had failed to get support from general prisoners.
"I have learnt that our guards resorted to lathi charge after Koda and his former colleagues entered the general prisoners ward and picked up a quarrel with them, which soon turned violent" inspector general of police (jails) Vijay Kumar Singh said, adding, he has asked the jail superintendent and deputy commissioner to conduct a thorough probe and submit the report to him.
Injured Koda declined it. He told reporters, "Around 100 prisoners including me and my two other former cabinet colleagues were on dharna to protest poor
quality of food being served to them inmates. Without any provocation, the security men charged us and targeted me specifically. I fell on the ground but they continued welding lathis on me,
and kicking me with boots."
Ranchi deputy commissioner KK Soan reiterated the jail authorities claim and held the special ward prisoners--Koda and his ex-colleagues-- responsible for the 'unfortunate' incident.
Soan quoting the jail authorities said that Koda and his team went up to the general prisoners, which they should have avoided--and expressed their desire to have food with them. "A section of inmates opposed them and apparently picked up a quarrel. Two inmates have been identified for picking up the brawl. Their names would be disclosed after getting the report from Jail superintendent," he said.
Koda has demanded a judicial probe in the incident. The MP said that he would take up the matter with the Lok Sabha Speaker and would also write to human rights commission seeking intervention for bringing the culprits to book.