Monday, Dec 22, 2014

Dutt’s ‘illegal’ guests in Yerawada: Two top prison officials to face the heat

This photo of Sanjay Dutt, Rajkumar Hirani, Marathi actor Rahul Solapurkar, Jail Superintendent Yogesh Desai & Senior Jailer Chandrakant Awale had appeared in media last year.file This photo of Sanjay Dutt, Rajkumar Hirani, Marathi actor Rahul Solapurkar, Jail Superintendent Yogesh Desai & Senior Jailer Chandrakant Awale had appeared in media last year. file
Written by Sushant Kulkarni | Pune | Posted: February 11, 2014 3:45 am

The Maharashtra Prisons Department has submitted a report to the state Home Ministry recommending action against Yerawada jail superintendent and senior jailer in connection with Bollywood director Rajkumar Hirani’s “illegal” visit to Sanjay Dutt in jail last year.

It may be recalled that Yerawada prison’s internal inquiry into the meeting on September 24, 2013, had found that jail department officials had flouted rules. The report submitted by the vigilance department had found that Jail Superintendent Yogesh Desai and Senior Jailer Chandrakant Awale — who were also seen with Dutt and Hirani in a photo that appeared in the media the next day — had flouted rules as mentioned in the prison manual.

The report of the inquiry had concluded that Hirani’s visit was illegal and the two jail officials had broken rules. The report was submitted to Additional Director General (Prisons) Meeran Borwankar, who has now written to the Home Ministry recommending action against them, a senior jail department officer said on condition of anonymity.

According to the prison manual, only the immediate kin are allowed to meet inmates, and permission has to be sought from an IG rank officer for taking photos, which was not done. The manual also states that apart from the immediate kin, only one more person and the lawyer — whose names have been listed by the inmate at the time of admission — are allowed to visit.

Dutt, who was sentenced in connection with 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, is currently out on parole and recently applied for a second extension.

Last year, the actor was scheduled to participate in a cultural programme along with 40 other inmates. The programme was called a few hours before it was to begin and the authorities had cited security reasons. While Solapurkar was asked by the jail department to guide the inmates for the programme and had visited the jail as per the procedure, Hirani was requested by senior jail officers to give final touches to the performances after a suggestion from Dutt.

“The report holds two senior officers responsible for the lapse. The power to initiate action against this rank of officers is with the home ministry. The report sent to the ministry states that a constable was suspended for shaking hands with Dutt in the past. This case is even more serious. Here, they have clicked photos, which have appeared in the media,” said a jail department officer.

Borwankar did not reply to the SMS sent by Newsline seeking her comment.

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