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Court's summer break spells gloom for 2G spectrum scam accused

Summer vacations generally bring cheer, even in jails, with courts providing a 21-day reprieve from mandatory attendance at hearings. The news, however, has left the 14 2G scam accused at Tihar jail sweating. Abhishek Sharan reports.

delhi Updated: Jun 17, 2011 09:14 IST
Abhishek Sharan
Abhishek Sharan
Hindustan Times

Summer vacations generally bring cheer, even in jails, with courts providing a 21-day reprieve from mandatory attendance at hearings.

News of the designated special court being closed for vacations from Monday has, however, left the 14 2G spectrum scam accused at Tihar jail sweating. Their daily court attendance since February had provided temporary escapes from the unfamiliar, boring and rule-bound existence in their 10ft x 15ft cells.

Used to spacious, air-conditioned boardrooms and cosy living spaces, the inmates, including billionaire industrialists Swan Telecom's director Shahid Balwa and Unitech Wireless's managing director Sanjay Chandra, must have felt relieved to be inside the air-conditioned courtrooms as the temperatures outside soared.

The eight hours, during which the inmates had stayed outside the jail, spelt freedom. As their guards stood erect but at a distance, they could interact freely with their families, friends and lawyers - a luxury available only for an hour a week in jail.

Now, they are bracing to spend full days behind the high walls with barbed wires.

So, some tried to push their lucks by making special requests to ease their woes.

Balwa, Chandra and Cineyug Films Private Limited owner Karim Morani asked for a water cooler to be installed inside their cells. Their requests, however, were turned down, said Tihar jail spokesperson Sunil Gupta.

Another inmate, Kalaignar TV's managing director Sharath Kumar, has sought to watch television programmes beyond the stipulated 11 pm and "eight additional television channels" to battle boredom and the heat. Tihar jail director general Neeraj Kumar said, "I will decide when the request comes to me."

A few others cope differently. Rajya Sabha member and DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi buries herself in English fiction. Former chairman of Common-wealth Games (CWG) Organising Committee, Suresh Kalmadi, nabbed for irregularities in the award of a games contract, allegedly spends his days in an air-conditioned office of a jail official.

A few CWG and 2G spectrum scam accused, allegedly paranoid about somebody turning an approver, want all co-accused to stay in a single ward. That way they could keep a watch over each other, since they cannot meet daily now.

First Published: Jun 17, 2011 00:04 IST