An inquiry report by a judicial officer, who was asked to probe allegations of inhuman behaviour towards inmates at Tihar Jail, has found that jail officials took bribes to provide basic amenities to inmates like one hour release per day from the ward or to avoid torture.
It stated that the “modus operandi” used by jail officials to collect bribes was during visits by families of inmates. If the families did not bring cash, they were asked to deposit it at a bakery opposite Tihar Jail Gate No 4, said the report.
The inquiry was conducted by Inspecting Judge Vikas Dhull, who was tasked by the Delhi High Court PIL committee to submit a report into the allegations after it received a letter from a convict, Bhupender, in December last year.
The convict had alleged that jail authorities tortured prisoners “by tying them up and suspending them from an iron stand”.
Taking note of the convict’s allegations and the judicial officer’s findings, a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar Tuesday initiated a PIL in the matter.
It asked the counsel for the jail to take instructions from the DG Prisons, Tihar, and listed the matter for hearing on July 9.
The report states that the convict’s allegations of extortion by jail officials were “also prima facie established from statements of inmates… which were duly corroborated by an independent witness, who had himself given an amount of Rs 15,000 to a jail official…”
It also ruled out the claim by Tihar authorities that Bhupender — serving a life term in Jail No 3 — has levelled false allegations and that there are 22 instances of his misbehaviour with jail staff for which he was punished appropriately as per jail rules.
The report, however, did not find any evidence with regard to the convict’s allegation that inmates of Jail No 3 are tortured.
The committee had also asked Dhull to look into allegations of jail officials being involved in illegal activities. The report found that there is rampant use of mobile phones, tobacco and other prohibited items inside the prison.