Mumbai: A Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed that V K Sasikala, who was a close aide of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, has been provided VIP facilities in jail, including five rooms, a private cook and unrestricted access to visitors.
The 59-year-old is currently serving a four-year jail term after being convicted in disproportionate asset case.
RTI activist Narasimha Murthy, who had filed the query, said that rules were violated to allow Sasikala enjoy VIP facilities at the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail.
Murthy said that women convicts, who were staying in four of the rooms, were "sent out" and all five rooms were given to V K Sasikala when she reached the jail on till February 14, 2017.
“There's no provision for cooking food in prison but jail authorities deputed one convict to cook for Sasikala. In her case, the system was ignored. People used to come in groups, go to her room directly and stay for three to four hours,” the RTI activist added.
D Roopa, the then deputy inspector general of prisons, had first raised the issue on July 13, 2017. She claimed that Sasikala and her associates were given preferential treatment in the prison for an alleged bribe of Rs 2 crore.
Soon after, the Karnataka government ordered a probe into the allegations. Roopa flagged the issue in a report to her superior, DGP (Prisons) H S Sathyanarayana Rao. The then Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced a "high-level probe" into the allegations.
Roopa named retired DGP Sathyanarayana Rao for giving preferential treatment to Jayalalithaa’s aide. Roopa was later transferred to the traffic section and Rao was asked to go on leave.
Retired IAS Officer Vinay Kumar, who investigated the allegations since then, confirmed that rules were indeed broken. The report of the panel he headed said that Sasikala and her aides received many facilities.
When Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister G Parameshwara, who was the then home minister, was asked to comment on these reports, he said, “I don't think so.”