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Tea, juices, fruits and one roti: For Navjot Singh Sidhu, medical board suggests 7-meal diet chart in jail

While many on social media termed Navjot Singh Sidhu's diet chart as “torturous”, a jails department official termed it as a “seven-star hotel menu” meal.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
Updated: May 26, 2022 9:46:17 am
Navjot Singh Sidhu at the Patiala district court on Friday, May 20, 2022. (Express Photo by Harmeet Sodhi)

A cup of Rosemary tea early in the morning, another of Chamomile tea at bedtime, plenty of fruit and vegetable juices in between and a single mixed-grain flour chapatti are among some of the items that a panel of doctors has recommended for former Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu who is serving a year-long sentence in a Patiala jail in a 1988 road rage case involving a man’s death.

Sidhu had earlier moved an application before the court of Patiala chief judicial magistrate (CJM) on Friday, the day he surrendered in the 34-year-old case, seeking permission for a special diet to be made available to him from home given his health complications. The court of CJM Amit Malhan had ordered the constitution of a board of doctors at Rajindra Hospital in Patiala to examine Sidhu and submit a report.

The panel comprising dietician Dr Ramanjit Kaur, Dr Ashish Kumar Bhagat, a professor in department of medicine, and Dr Saurabh Sharma, assistant professor in cardiology department, has prescribed a diet chart recommending seven meals a day for the cricketer-turned-politician based on his health condition.

While many on social media termed the diet chart as “torturous”, a jails department official termed it as a “seven-star hotel menu” meal. “The officials who had been serving along with me have never had an avocado, one of the fruits recommended in the diet chart. The diet schedule is unheard of and unprecedented,” the official said requesting not to be named.

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Diet recommended for Sidhu in jail

Early morning: a cup of rosemary tea, half a glass of white petha juice or a glass of coconut water

Breakfast: one cup lactose free milk; one tablespoon of flax, sunflower, melon or chia seeds; 5 to 6 almonds, one walnut and two pecan nuts.

Mid-morning: one glass of beetroot or ghia (bottle gourd) or cucumber or mausami (sweet lemon) or Tulsi & Mint leaves or amla (gooseberry) or celery leaves or fresh haldi (turmeric) or carrot or aloe vera juice. Alternatively, Sidhu can can have one fruit from among watermelon, melon, kiwi, strawberry, guava, apple, and wood apple. He can also opt for sprouted black chana (25 gm) plus green gram dal (25gm) plus kheera (cucumber)/tomato/half lemon/avocado.

Lunch: One chappati of 30 gm comprising sorghum, singhara and ragi flour in equal quantity with one bowl each of seasonal green vegetable and of cucumber and ghia raita or one bowl of beet root raita, a green salad bowl of cucumber, tomato, kakri, lettuce leaves and half lemon) and one glass of lassi.

Evening: A cup of 100 ml tea with low fat milk and no sugar and 25 gm of paneer slice or 25 gm Tofu with half lemon.

Dinner: A bowl of mixed vegetable and dal soup/black chana soup with a 200 gm bowl sprinkled with black pepper powder and consisting of sauteed vegetables (carrot, beans, broccoli, mushroom, bell pepper).

Bed time: A cup of Chamomile tea and one tablespoon Psyllium husk with half glass warm water.

Other recommendations for Sidhu

Drink 10-12 glasses [of water] per day; avoid processed foods; avoid saturated fats (desi ghee, butter, white butter); use olive oil, rice bran oil, mustard oil or cold pressed mustard or sunflower oils; do not sprinkle table salt on any salad; use iodized salt in small quantity; and exercise everyday for at least 30-45 minutes.

Panel’s observation on Sidhu’s medical condition

The panel of doctors observed that 58-year-old Sidhu has “history of Pulmonary Embolism in 2009 requiring hospitalization (no record available) and history of lower limb DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in 2016 while on warfarine (poor compliance). The report noted that is is currently asymptomatic.

The panel diagnosed “pulmonary embolism and left leg DVT (old); Hyperhomocysteinimia (a condition where there is greater than 15 micromol/L of homocysteine [a type of amino acid the human body uses to make proteins in the blood]); non alcoholic steato-hepatitis (NASH); and obesity.

It also observed that doppler of left leg showed evidence of recanalized thrombus.

Fibroscan showed significant fat in liver with suggestion of cirrhosis. However reliability of report is poor due to technical reasons.

The panel’s recommendation

Sidhu needs to be on oral lifelong anti-coagulant.

He should continue on folic acid and vitamin B-12 supplements

Sidhu should reduce weight and opt for high fibre, low carbohydrate and low-fat diet

The court’s directions

Citing rule 814 of chapter 32 of Punjab Jail Manual, the court observed that medical officer is competent in his discretion to prescribe any special diet. “Since medical opinion has been given by the team of board of doctors, Superintendent, Central Jail, Patiala is to consider report of the Board of Doctors for providing medicines/special blood thinner diet under Punjab Jail Manual.”

What does the jail department say

Punjab Additional Director General of Police (Jails) Varinder Kumar said, “In special conditions, where an inmate is having health complications, the special diet is allowed as per the medical advice. We will go by the provisions in that regard as per the Jail Manual.

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