Jailed gangster-turned-politician Shahabuddin Covid +ve, admitted to hospital
Gangster-turned-politician Mohammad Shahabuddin, who was lodged inside Delhi’s Tihar jail, has tested positive for Covid-19 and has been admitted to a city hospital on Tuesday night, according to senior prison officials privy to the development.
Tihar prison officers are now on high alert and tracing the source of the infection because unlike other prisoners, Shahabuddin,57, was lodged in a single cell and did not have any interaction with other prisoners. The only people he was in contact with are jail officers. Prison officers suspect Shahabuddin, a former Member of Parliament from Siwan, Bihar, may have been infected with the virus through an asymptomatic jail officer.
“It is scary. There are three prisoners in Tihar, who do not share space with anyone, Shahabuddin being one. The other two are underworld gangster Chhota Rajan and Delhi gangster Neeraj Bawana. They are lodged alone in the most secure part of the prison. Even other prisoners do not interact with them. For the last 20-25 days, the bi-weekly family visits have also been suspended. So, the infection has happened inside only,” a senior prison officer, who did not wish to be named, said.
Jail officers are now monitoring Rajan’s health because he may also have contact with the same jail officers. Rajan has co-morbidities, officials said. The three prisoners are lodged in three adjacent cells at a heavily guarded wing inside jail 2.
The prison’s director general, Sandeep Goel, confirmed that the former parliamentarian had tested positive and was admitted to a city hospital but refused to disclose details related to the case.
Tihar, which is the country’s largest prison complex and houses over 20,000 prisoners currently, has at least 115 active cases among prisoners. There are 14 Covid-positive jail officers too, which include the prison’s doctor.