A mobile phone, a charger, a wire and a few packets of tobacco were found from the prison cell of former Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala in Tihar Jail during a surprise inspection early Thursday morning. “The cell has two more inmates and one of them has taken responsibility of the prohibited items. It’s being checked if the phone was being used by Chautala himself,” said Rajkumar, Additional Inspector General, Tihar Jail. The raid was carried out a day after Chautala returned after a furlough.
A senior Tihar Jail official said, “The inspection took place in cell No. 32 of ward No. 3 in jail No. 2, on the direction of the prison headquarters. The cell is occupied by Chautala, Ramesh Sharma and Surender. Sharma has said the prohibited items belong to him.”
Chautala (84) and his son Ajay were convicted for corruption in recruitment of junior basic teachers on January 16, 2013. He’s serving a 10-year sentence, and is due for release in 2023.
Rajkumar said that Chautala returned to his cell on Wednesday night after furlough, and the inspection took place the next morning. “An inquiry has been initiated. Though only one phone has been recovered, we don’t know how many people used it. Call detail records will be analysed to establish the users and accordingly, punishment will be given,” he said.
There are 16 jails in Tihar. “Surprise inspections are conducted at least twice a week, across jails and cells. It’s a random selection of wards… We have 7-8 teams at the headquarters and an evening before the inspection, the teams are told about the wards and cells,” an official said.