VIP facility vs physiotherapy: BJP, AAP trade barbs over Satyendar jail video
BJP leader and West Delhi MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma along with party leaders Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga filed a police complaint against Jain, accusing the minister of turning the jail into a ‘massage parlour’
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday accused jailed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) minister Satyendar Jain of receiving “VIP treatment” in prison after a video appeared to show him getting a massage inside the Tihar jail, a charge that Delhi’s governing party rejected, arguing that the leader was being given physiotherapy for a spinal injury.
Separately, Jain moved a Delhi court, seeking contempt action against the Enforcement Directorate (ED), alleging that the federal anti-money laundering agency “leaked” the CCTV video. Special judge Vikas Dhull issued a notice to ED and fixed the matter for November 21 for hearing.
BJP leader and West Delhi MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma along with party leaders Manjinder Singh Sirsa and Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga filed a police complaint against Jain, accusing the minister of turning the jail into a “massage parlour”.
Last month, ED told a Delhi court that the AAP minister was “living a luxurious life” in prison, receiving massages, fruits and salads as well as meeting his family members, and had also submitted CCTV videos of the jail.
On Saturday, a six-minute video emerged on social media, which showed Jain receiving head, foot and back massages and speaking to visitors, seemingly on different days. HT could not independently verify the authenticity of the video.
At a press conference on Saturday, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said the video showed Jain getting VIP treatment, which should not be provided to a prisoner. “Why is this massage being provided to the prisoner? Why is Jain not in the jail uniform meant for prisoners? Why are so many people being allowed in the cell? The chief minister [Arvind Kejriwal] should answer,” he said.
“The video shows that government files are being shared with him inside the prison cell. This is dangerous for our democratic framework,” he said.
Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta alleged that the AAP has “destroyed” the law and regulations framework. “A man lodged inside jail in a money laundering case is living a luxurious life with his agents. He is getting foot massages with ease. Why is Arvind Kejriwal not removing such a minister? Is it because it will halt their illegal businesses being run from jail,” Gupta said.
The AAP hit back, with deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia calling the video a “breach of privacy” of a cabinet minister who was ill, and alleged that the video was leaked to influence voters ahead of the December 4 municipal corporation elections.
“Satyendar Jain fell in prison and suffered a spine injury. He was taken to hospital from jail and the doctors recommended routine physiotherapy after two operations, but BJP has made fun of Jain’s ailment by leaking a video of him receiving therapy. The court ordered ED to not leak the video, but with its defeat looming large, BJP wrongfully leaked the video in wilful disobedience of the court’s orders,” Sisodia said.
Denying that any jail regulations were being violated, Sisodia said: “This is not luxury body massage but pressure therapy being provided to an injured person based on medical requirement. His L5-S1 vertebrae or L5-S1 disk got damaged. As per his medical records, his nerves got pinched and he was hospitalised. Such treatment is provided in every jail of the country.”
AAP Delhi convener Gopal Rai said: “They (the BJP) are coming up with videos of ill people, fake sting videos, fake letters to carry out its election campaign. The BJP has nothing substantial to say.”
Meanwhile, West Delhi MP Verma, Sirsa and Bagga filed a police complaint against Jain at the Hari Nagar police station. He said: “They (the AAP) came to change Delhi but instead changed Tihar jail into a massage centre. Sisodia is repeatedly saying that Jain has been booked in a false case but just a couple of days back, the courts have denied him bail. The physiotherapy claim is laughable. People of Delhi can see this video to see if this is physiotherapy or massage.”