By Prawesh Lama & Ananya Bhardwaj
The Home Department of the Delhi government has sought a reply from the Tihar administration regarding the statue of former DG Vimla Mehra, which was installed at the prison compound earlier this year. Sources said a deputy secretary has asked the administration about the funding and details of statue installed inside jail number 1 compound.
Home Department sources said in a notice sent last month, Tihar authorities were asked to reply about the “measurement, expenditure of the statue” and the details of the inmate who had sculpted the statue.
The bust of the former DG, complete with her badges and nameplate, was made by a convicted prisoner, Ram Chander. He is presently serving a life sentence for murder. Chander completed the statue in January and it was inaugurated by Mehra herself on January 27.
“The detailed notice also asked for an explanation as to why the statue was positioned at gate number 1, alongside those of gods and goddesses,” a source said. The DG’s statue, according to reports, was placed next to that of Bharat Mata, Radha-Krishna and Mahatma Gandhi.
Furthermore, the secretary has also asked for a record of all statues built in the past by the inmate. “We have received a reply from the jail administration and are looking into the explanation,” a senior official said.
Last month Vimla Mehra was transferred back to the Delhi Police before her tenure as the Tihar DG was over.
Speaking to Newsline earlier, Mehra had said no prisoner was asked to bow before her statue. “I did not even know that he was making the statue. There are several other statues in the compound — all built by our inmates. The one who sculpted mine has also made a sculpture of Bharat Mata and Radha-Krishna. Let me put it on record that the maximum cost of the statue could not have been more than Rs 5,000.”
Senior IPS officer Alok Verma, who has been appointed the new DG, will take charge at Tihar on Wednesday. Mehra still awaits a new posting in the department.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday evening, the Home Department “removed” Sunil Gupta, the Tihar Prisons public relations officer, from the post.
Mukesh Prasad, DIG (Prisons), has been appointed the new PRO in Gupta’s place.
“Special Secretary (Home) G L Meena informed that order to appoint Mukesh Prasad has been issued by the government today after removing Sunil Gupta from the post of Public Relations Officer(Prisons),” reads the official press release from the Home Department.