A senior IPS officer in Karnataka has alleged that AIADMK leader V K Sasikala is getting VIP treatment in jail, and that there are rumours that she paid huge bribes to officials for this. The irrepressible DIG Roopa, in her recent report to her boss, said Sasikala – who is housed in a prison in Bengaluru in a corruption case – is getting facilities, including a special kitchen counter to cook food for her.
Even more shocking is the reference in her letter to DGP of prisons H S N Rao that there were rumours that Sasikala paid Rs 2 crore as bribe to jail officials, including the DGP himself, to get these illegal benefits. The report also said some other convicts, like stamp paper scam accused Abdul Kareem Telgi, too get special facilities. Telgi has three undertrials assigned to give him a massage.
It is now incumbent on the authorities to shift DGP Rao to another post so that the probe ordered by the Karnataka government not only remains impartial but is also seen to be so. If it is found that there is substance in the allegations, deterrent punishment must be meted out to the DGP as well as other jail officials who may be involved.
On the face of it, DIG Roopa has done well to expose the system that has gone so decadent. But if these allegations are proved to be untrue and she has an axe to grind, she must be dealt with severely for sullying the reputation of her senior, H S N Rao, and others involved in the horrible act. Sasikala is no stranger to such controversial practices as the disproportionate assets case in which she was convicted and sentenced bore out.
DIG Roopa’s letter also refers to tests done on 25 inmates for consumption of drugs in which a shocking 18 of them tested positive for ganja (cannabis). Her observation that no action has ensued needs to be probed threadbare. If the Siddaramaiah government fails to act on the letter of DIG Roopa in a full-fledged manner (even though a probe has been ordered) it could well be surmised that it is unduly protecting the existing system.
It is a shame indeed if Sasikala is able to run her writ even in jail and bribe her way to unfair benefits. Any privileges extended to Sasikala can only be on the basis of a court order. The same goes for Telgi. Even as Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has declared that a high-level inquiry is being ordered, there are moves to transfer Sasikala to another jail. That would hardly solve the problem.