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Jailed justice Karnan taken to cells where Netaji and Sri Aurobindo were lodged

The retired judge was taken to the cells of the two freedom fighters after he was distraught on stepping inside Presidency jail on Wednesday afternoon.

kolkata Updated: Jun 24, 2017 14:40 IST
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Snigdhendu Bhattacharya
Hindustan Times
C S Karnan,Presidency Jail,Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose
Retired justice C S Karnan after his arrest from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.(HT Photo)

Retired Calcutta high court judge C S Karnan, who arrived at Kolkata’s Presidency jail on Wednesday afternoon, was given special treatment including a tour of the cells where Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Sri Aurobindo were lodged.

According to jail sources, Karnan who reached the gate of the prison at 3:15 pm was visibly distraught, and also reportedly broke down in tears. To lift his spirits, the jail authorities took him on a tour of the compound, showing him the jail’s association with India’s struggle for freedom.

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

“He was taken to the solitary cell - traditionally called The Six Decrees - where revolutionary Aurobindo Ghosh attained ‘divine enlightenment’ and wrote his celebrated book The Life Divine during 1908-1909. He stood in front of the cell for quite a few minutes,” a source told HT.

Subhas Chandra Bose and Sri Aurobindo were the most high-profile prisoners in Presidency Jail. (HT Photo)

Later he was also taken to the ‘Subhas cell’ where Netaji launched a hunger strike in 1940.

Sources claimed that the 62-year-old retired judge has been allotted one of the 32 solitary cells in the jail. However, he is yet to spend a single night there.

“Immediately after arriving in the jail, he was taken to the superintendent’s room, before being taken for the tour of the prison. Everyone treated him with respect and he returned the gesture,” the source added.

Karnan was taken to SSKM hospital on Wednesday night after he complained of chest pain. He was released after primary check up and spent the night at Presidency jail hospital.

Read: Police knew about Karnan’s hiding place for 3 days before arresting him

On Thursday morning, he spent another couple of hours at the jail super’s room but complained of chest pain again in the noon, and was rushed to SSKM hospital, where doctors decided to admit him. He was at the ICCU till last reports came on Saturday evening. According to reports, the retired justice wanted to have south Indian food in the hospital that his doctors didn’t agree to.

C S Karnan was shifted from Presidency Jail to SSKM Hospital on Thursday. He has been admitted in the ICCU. (HT Photo)

The former judge suffers from various ailments, including high blood pressure, COPD and diabetes.

Karnan is being treated as ‘division 1’ prisoner and will be getting a chair, a table and a lamp in his cell. He will also get better food than other prisoners and may also be allowed home cooked food. He’ll also get newspapers and books.

During his stay in the jail so far, Karnan only had tea, biscuits and some fruits.

Jail sources said that special security arrangements were made inside the prison to ensure inmates stay away from Karnan.

“There is great deal of interest among prisoners over the retired judge. Many are keen on meeting him. While he behaved gently with everyone, and even called jail officials as ‘sir’, he may not like inmates to throng his cell,” an official said.

“Besides, there could be prisoners holding grudges against judges, though not particularly against him. We have to stay cautious,” the source added.

First Published: Jun 24, 2017 14:40 IST