'Ailing' Tihar inmate accuses medical officer of extortion



New Delhi: The Director General of Prisons (Tihar) has been ordered by a court to look into an allegation of extortion by a senior medical officer of the jail from ailing under trials to refer them to government hospitals.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vidya Parkash sought the DG's (Prison) "indulgence" into the matter on a complaint by jailed undertrial Harshad Alam and after the jail superintendent had failed to respond to the court's notice dated October 8 on Alam's plea.

In his plea, Alam had alleged that the senior medical officer of Jail 1 is adopting the method of extortion to provide him proper medical treatment and referring him to a government hospital for better medical treatment of his heart and lung ailments.

The CMM gave the direction to the DG (Prisons) noting that no reply had been filed on his notice to the jail superintendent for a proper inquiry into Alam's allegations and to furnish a report on it.

"Keeping in view the fact that no report/reply has been received from concerned superintendent of jail no. 1 despite specific directions issued by the court on October 8, court is of the view that the matter requires indulgence of DG, Prisons so that remedial measures, if any, may be taken in respect of providing proper medical treatment to undertrial prisoners in accordance with law," the CMM said.

The CMM also directed the DG (Prisons) to "personally look into the allegations made by Alam and to take appropriate action if any in accordance with law" and also ensure "proper medical treatment is provided to him as may be advised by the concerned doctor without any fail."

Alam, a cheating and forgery case accused lodged in Tihar jail, had in his plea said that he suffers from an enlarged heart and "pleural thickening" of left lung for which he was being treated at Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital and AIIMS but "the same were stopped and the SMO demanded money from him to continue treatment at the hospitals."

He also told the CMM that he had earlier reported the matter to a Saket magisterial court, which is also hearing a case against him, but the SMO prepared a false report saying Alam can be treated at the jail hospital itself.

Alam alleged that when he "visited the dispensary of the SMO, his assistant told him that he needed to pay Rs 20,000 to get his treatment at the government hospital."

He also said he has been shifted from jail number no. 1 to jail no. 3 "without any rhyme or reason and to teach him a lesson for bringing the issue to the court's notice."

Besides Alam, his sister Honey Sharma, brother-in-law Vipin Sharma and three other relatives Sachin Sharma, Bhupender, Aman Alam are accused of cheating, forgery, criminal conspiracy under the IPC and also under the Passport Act for running a racket of providing fake passports and visas in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab.

Barring Honey Sharma, all were arrested by the Special Cell of Delhi Police after an FIR was lodged in 2009.

They are allegedly involved in over 30 such cases and were also booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act for running an organised crime syndicate.

A sessions court had early this year discharged them from MCOCA but the order was stayed by the high court in an appeal by the state.

PTI