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Men in uniform and jailhouse rock

world Updated: Aug 04, 2011 01:30 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times
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The Dilli Bazaar jail in Kathmandu is playing host to some high profile guests these days. Senior police officers - serving, suspended and retired - are spending nights at the crammed premise that houses criminals of all hues.

Their crime - involvement in a scam worth nearly NRs 290 million (around Rs 181 million) related to purchase of below par armed personnel carriers (APCs) for Nepal Police peacekeepers serving in an UN peace keeping in Sudan.

Since last month, a special court has been hearing the case involving 34 police officers and two civilians including a British national. They are appearing one by one and failure to furnish huge bail amounts leading them to Dilli Bazaar.

But unlike other criminals, these accused are getting only a brief glimpse of jail hospitality. Thanks to private banks, family and friends furnishing the bail amounts and getting them released.

Why are the banks bailing out scan-tainted officers and how officers who earn a few thousand rupees every month will be able to repay them and well-wishers is a question many are asking.

The go to jail in the evening and get bail the next day drama managed to grab front page headlines for a few days. Now even newspapers seem to be getting tired of its monotony.

The first act was witnessed on July 10 when former DSP Dinesh KC was sent to jail for failing to furnish a bail amount of NRs 3.5 million. He was bailed out of Dilli Bazaar the next day.

The court sought the biggest bail amounts, NRs 150 million each from former police chief Om Bikram Rana and Sambhu Bharati, a British local agent of the London-based firm that supplied the sub-standard APCs.

Now reports are appearing that the plot of land that Rana showed as family property to get bail actually belongs to the government. In coming days more accused are likely to become guests at Dilli Bazaar.

Their fates are better than several VVIP inmates spending anxious nights in Delhi's Tihar Jail for alleged involvement in the 2G and CWG scams. Bail for them seems a distant dream yet.

But while politicians in India are getting taste of jail hospitality, their counterparts in Nepal have escaped the same treatment in the Sudan scam - at least for now.