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Once a judge, Karnan to share roof with 2000 inmates at Presidency jail

Once a judge, Justice CS Karnan will now be within the British-era Kolkata’s Presidency jail.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2017 22:20 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Justice CS Karnan,Kolktata,CS Karnan
Karnan is India’s first high court judge to land in jail for contempt of court. He retired on June 12.(Samir Jana/HT PHOTO)

A white SUV carrying a special prisoner sped past a battery of journalists outside Presidency Correctional Home at 3.15pm on Wednesday.

The waiting media could hardly get a glimpse of retired Calcutta high court judge CS Karnan, who was sentenced to six months in jail by the Supreme Court after a long judicial standoff.

Once a judge, he will now be within the British-era Presidency jail’s high walls that hold about 2,000 undertrial prisoners and convicts.

But the 62-year-old Karnan was not treated like common prisoners. People in custody are generally sandwiched between policemen. He was allotted the right window seat in the vehicle’s mid-section.

He is this century’s most high-profile prisoner in Presidency jail, which has seen crucial moments from India’s struggle for Independence.

It was here “dangerous revolutionary” Aurobindo Ghosh’s attained divine enlightenment and transformed into Rishi Aurobindo, and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose held his famous hunger strike during the early 1940s.

It was at a solitary cell called Six Degree, renamed Aurobindo Cell, that Ghosh wrote The Life Divine. Another cell on the first floor of “European Block” is now called Subhas Cell.

Other prominent prisoners were Sarat Chandra Bose, revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam and Barindra Kumar Ghosh.

Freedom struggle heroes Kanailal Dutta, Satyendra Nath Bose, Charu Charan Bose, Birendra Nath Dutta Gupta and Gopi Mohan Saha were hanged here.

Karnan is India’s first high court judge to land in jail for contempt of court. He retired on June 12.

Earlier in the morning, a Supreme Court vacation bench of justices DY Chandrachud and SK Kaul rejected Karnan’s bail plea and refused to suspend the sentence.

He was absconding for almost a month and was arrested by a West Bengal police team from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday. He was flown to Kolkata on Wednesday from Chennai.

His medical, a mandatory procedure before anyone is interned, was conducted at the NSC Bose international airport compound.

At the airport, he mumbled something to journalists. But none could catch his words.

First Published: Jun 21, 2017 19:31 IST