New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday directed Tihar jail authorities to provide food to jailed AAP minister Satyendar Kumar Jain during his religious fast in accordance with the relevant rules. Special Judge Vikas Dhull passed the order while directing the jail authorities to file their reply by tomorrow containing details of food provided to Jain in the past six months. The court was hearing a plea moved by Jain, alleging the jail administration had stopped giving him the food allowed “as per law” during his religious fast.
A fresh row erupted on Wednesday after videos emerged of the jailed minister purportedly eating uncooked vegetables and fruits in his Tihar jail cell, with Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi alleging he is enjoying facilities akin to a holiday resort. The videos surfaced after he moved court alleging he is not being provided raw food according to his religious beliefs. However, the purported videos are dated September 13 and October 1. Jain’s application sought direction to Tihar officials to provide him with food items like fruits, dry fruits and dates as per his religious beliefs as he was observing a fast.
“In the facts and circumstances, let Tihar Jail Administration provide the food to Satyendar Kumar Jain, which is available to under trial if he is on a religious fast keeping in mind the rule,” the judge said. He directed the jail administration to also file its reply by Thursday as to what food was given to Jain in the past six months, whether he was on a religious fast during the course of the previous 5-6 months and whether the diet, which was being given, has been stopped during the past 10-12 days.
The judge further directed the jail administration to file a medical report of Jain, including his current weight and MRI scans, if any, by Monday. During the hearing, the jail administration sought three days’ time to file a detailed report along with relevant documents which the court had sought from the jail superintendent as well as the medical officer. The court was told by senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for Jain, that fruits, vegetables and nuts which the politician was getting, have been stopped by the jail authorities. The lawyer said Jain was entitled to a special diet during the fast.
The law officer appearing for the jail administration sought an adjournment to file a detailed report. In the application, Jain said he was “a strict adherent of Jainism”, but he was not being provided the basic food that is partaken under his religion and medical facilities inside the prison. The application said the Delhi Prison Rules provide for diets to be given as per the local or religious customs such as during Navratras and Ramzan. The ED had, during a bail hearing earlier, accused Jain of getting special treatment inside the jail.
A Tihar jail superintendent was suspended for alleged involvement in providing special treatment to Jain in the prison. Videos purportedly showing Jain receiving massage and meeting visitors in his prison cell emerged last week, sparking a major controversy.
Jain was arrested in a money laundering case based on a CBI FIR lodged against him in 2017 under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The court had on November 17 denied bail to Jain and two others in the case. He is accused of having laundered money through four companies allegedly linked to him.