The court’s directions came after liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s defence team focused its objections on the lack of natural light available in Barrack 12 and claimed that “Government of India assurance cannot be relied upon”.
New Delhi August 25: The Barrack Number 12 of Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail, where CBI plans to lodge embattled businessman Vijay Mallya, has a television set, private toilet, a washing area, availability of proper natural light, access to library and a courtyard to take a walk.
The specifications were highlighted after a UK court asked Indian authorities to submit a “step by step video” video of the jail compartment where Mallya would be kept. The court’s directions came after Mallya’s defence team focused its objections on the lack of natural light available in Barrack 12 and claimed that the “government of India assurance cannot be relied upon”.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a nearly 10 minute-long video highlighting various facilities before the London court.
“The UK court wanted to see if Indian jails are hygienic. We have given them proof of the hygiene level and medical facilities available in jail. In fact, the barrack in which Mallya would be lodged is east-facing so it has lot of sunlight too,” NDTV quoted a senior level official as saying.
Barrack 12 at the Arthur Road Jail houses high-profile inmates, including prisoners who face a security threat elsewhere, or ones who could pose a threat to others. It’s a ground-plus-one structure with eight cells on each floor.
In an earlier report, The Indian Express had given a glimpse of the cell. The report stated that while prison barracks ordinarily have Indian-style toilets, some cells in Barrack 12 have western-style commodes. Inmates are provided with a mattress, a pillow and a bedsheet, and a melamine glass, plate and two bowls in which to have meals and water.
Melamine utensils are preferred because prisoners can’t use them to attack other prisoners or jail staff, or to inflict injuries on themselves. The cells are covered by CCTV cameras, and guards posted inside and outside the barrack watch over inmates round the clock.
The Westminster Magistrates’ Court judge, expressing dissatisfaction with the still photographs provided by the Indian authorities of the jail premises, had even given specific instructions for the video to be shot and submitted within three weeks.
Judge Emma Arbuthnot said a video of the Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai, where they plan to keep Mallya, should be shot in daylight so that it is clear if the prison would get any natural light or not.
The 62-year-old former Kingfisher Airlines boss, who has been on bail in an extradition warrant since his arrest in April last year, is fighting extradition to India on charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crores.
In the ongoing extradition proceedings, if the judge rules in favour of the Indian government, the UK home secretary will have two months to sign Mallya’s extradition order. However, both sides will have the chance to appeal in higher courts in the UK against the Magistrates’ Court verdict.