Magistrate okays Meena’s plea for ‘class-B’ custody; Tihar says no such provision

Laxmi Narain Meena,the first to be arrested in the DDA flat allotment scam,was sent to Tihar jail till January 31 on Sunday.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Published:January 19, 2009 2:51 am

Facility was scrapped 10 years ago says jail’s law officer

Laxmi Narain Meena,the first to be arrested in the DDA flat allotment scam,was sent to Tihar jail till January 31 on Sunday. The magistrate who heard the case,also forwarded Meena’s application to the Tihar Jail superintendent for keeping him in class-B judicial custody.

Jail officials,however,are perplexed. The facility has been non-existent for 10 years and there is no classification of any kind between the inmates.

When 54-year-old Meena was produced in court after completion of his eight-day police custody,the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) chose not to seek his custody.

Meena,who had allegedly filled up 177 application forms of the people belonging to the Scheduled Tribe (ST) Category before turning them over to co-accused Deepak Kumar,was represented by advocate S P Yadav.

“Meena has an MA degree in geography and hence,we are moving an application for keeping him in class B judicial custody,” said Yadav.

Looking ahead for better facilities to the accused,the counsel said that Meena,a former bank employee,should not be detained in Class C judicial custody keeping in mind his educational background and other relevant factors.

As per the jail manual,an accused is equipped with better amenties like furniture,a TV set,newspapers and other such provisions when in custody under class B. Such facilities are not given to other inmates.

The magistrate perused his application and forwarded the same to jail superintendent for consideration. The official has also been asked to submit a report on the next date.

Tihar’s Law officer Sunil Gupta,however,was bewildered by the application as there is no such facility in the prison anymore.

“It has been over 10 years that Class B and Class C categories have been done away with. All the inmates are now given similar facilities and we tend not to differentiate between inmates unless there are strong medical reasons,” added Gupta.

Asked whether the application was filed in a hurry or in some sort of confusion,Yadav told Newsline that he would rather stick to his guns and that the jail manuals did provide for the classification.

The court would now take up Meena’s application on January 31 and the report of the Jail Superintendent is also expected on the same day,making it clear whether the accused would get any preferential treatment or will have to cool his heels behind the bars like other inmates.

The court also rejected a plea by Meena asking the judge to sign the case diary so it could not been tampered with.

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