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Arthur Road jail now has a special cell to house VIP accused

He said the new cells are equipped with facilities on par with those offered in prisons in European Union (EU) and developed countries.

mumbai Updated: Apr 12, 2019 08:55 IST
arthur road jail,jail,special cell
Each of the new cells at Arthur Road jail are self-sufficient units.(HT File)

Unhygienic conditions of Indian jails may not hold as grounds for those seeking to avoid deportation now that Arthur Road Jail has constructed a special cell block in anticipation of high-profile prisoners like the diamond merchant Nirav Modi and businessman Vijay Mallya.

The new cells are self-sufficient units with amenities like 24x7 water supply and French windows.

“Now we are fully ready to accommodate the high-profile fugitive offenders while complying with global prison standards,” said director general, prisons, SN Pandey.

He said the new cells are equipped with facilities on par with those offered in prisons in European Union (EU) and developed countries.

Last year, Mallya, accused of defrauding Rs 9,000 crore to banks in India, had told a court in the United Kingdom (UK) that the conditions of Indian jails are “inhuman” and was able to stall extradition proceedings against him.

A senior official at Arthur Road jail told HT that this had come as an embarrassment to jail authorities and a cell was swiftly refurbished to meet global prison standards (a video of this cell has been submitted to the UK court as evidence).

The decision was also taken to augment facilities at the jail so that such excuses could not be put forward in the future.

It was decided that three special blocks of prison cells would be constructed, each comprising four cells (ground plus one) by demolishing an old building in the high security zone of the sprawling prison compound at Saat Rasta.

Work on the first block was recently completed. According to the official, the cells measure 15x10 feet and are designed as self-sufficient units, which means the prisoner would not have to share facilities with others.

“The walls have been coated with several layers of white acrylic paint so as to increase brightness in the room while the long French window high above the floor ensures daylight and fresh air,” he said.

“Exhaust and celling fans have been fitted to keep the rooms cool. The other facilities include a commode, wash basin with 24x7 water supply as well as pure drinking water,” said the official.

CCTV cameras have been fitted in every cell for round-the-clock monitoring of the inmates by a dedicated team of prison guards.

One of the first inmates to use these premises was retired television executive and murder accused, Peter Mukerjea.

“He stayed briefly in one of these cells before he was recently shifted to a hospital for treatment of his heart ailments,” said an official.

First Published: Apr 12, 2019 03:18 IST