The lone surviving 26/11 terrorist, Ajmal Amir Kasab, has managed to create a rift between two Maharashtra government departments.
The Public Works Department (PWD) and the home department have locked horns over Rs 5 crore spent in securing Kasab’s life in Arthur Road jail in central Mumbai. More than a year after the PWD spent this amount to secure the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba terrorist’s life in jail, the home department is yet to settle the account.
Soon after Kasab’s arrest at Girgaum Chowpatty on the night of the attacks, the PWD was directed to make the anda cell (the egg-shaped solitary confinement cell) at Arthur Road jail bomb proof.
The PWD had spent Rs. 5.24 crore to reinforce the cell and construct a 20-foot long bomb-and-bullet-proof tunnel on the jail premises to connect Kasab’s cell to the special court where the trial is in progress. These measures were taken after authorities felt that Kasab could be vulnerable to a grenade attack.
The government had also requisitioned the Indo-Tibetan Border Police to patrol and guard the jail premises.
The PWD has been paid Rs 25 lakh and the home department does not seem to be in a mood to pay the remaining sum.
The home department recently admitted that the PWD is yet to be paid its dues while replying to a query filed under the Right To Information by activist Yogacharya Anand. The home department’s reply said: “Though this was the expenditure (incurred) by PWD and their contractors, it has not been fully reimbursed.”
A home department official, requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said: “The remaining amount can be adjusted within the state’s treasury.”
Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, who also heads the PWD, was unavailable for comments.