The Karnataka government today served a notice on a top police officer for going to the media on her controversial report on alleged special treatment in jail to AIADMK (Amma) leader V K Sasikala, even as she stood her ground, asserting she had not violated any conduct rules. As the report by DIG (Prisons) D Roopa erupted into a major controversy, a red-faced government asked her to explain her conduct, with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, saying it was “absolutely against the rule book.” “It is inappropriate on her part to share details with the media,” Siddaramaiah told reporters in Mysuru, expressing open displeasure over the public comments by Roopa, whose report has also brought her superior and other prison officials under a cloud of bribery allegations.
Siddaramaiah said she could have approached any of her superiors about her charges against senior officials and that her allegations before the mainstream and social media has brought embarrassment to the police department. Roopa has been asked to give a reply to the notice served on her, the chief minister said. He said a probe by a senior retired officer has been ordered into the charges made by Roopa against DGP (Prisons) Sathyanarayana Rao, who has rubbished her allegations.
Unfazed, Roopa said “I stick to my report and I stand by it, but I have not divulged details of the contents anywhere.” She said she had not divulged details of the allegations but it was done by others and “hence I have not violated the conduct rule.” Roopa said the DGP (Prisons) was the first one to talk about the report and only after that she gave her reaction. “Running away from the media will be misconstrued and therefore I had to clarify as I gave the report,” she said. She said she also welcomed the high-level probe ordered into her allegations by the government. “Whatever enquiry the Chief Minister has ordered is most welcome and (I have) no qualms about it. That is fair enough and there should be free and fair enquiry. I will cooperate and the truth has to come out.”
“And if any confidential information has been leaked which is a damaging one there should be an enquiry. Let it be conducted,” she said.
Roopa also alleged that “an artificial strike” by prisoners was organised against her in the jail. “They (officials) are supposed to contain any such protests and if they are organising it and releasing the strike footage to the media then that also should be enquired into.” In her report submitted to Rao, Roopa had alleged that there was “talk” that Rs two crore had exchanged hands to provide preferential treatment to Sasikala and even said there were allegations against him as well.
Rao, however, has rubbished Roopa’s charge against him, terming it “absolutely false, baseless and wild.” He said he would take legal recourse against his junior. He has said no special treatment was being given to Sasikala.
In her four-page report after visiting the central prison on July 10, Roopa had said a special kitchen was functioning in the jail here for Sasikala, a convict in a corruption case, in violation of the rules.
Sasikala has been lodged at the Parappana Agrahara central jail here since her conviction in February in a disproportionate assets case along with her two relatives, V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi, all serving a four-year jail term.
Taking “serious cognisance” of the allegations of irregularities in the central prison, Siddaramaiah yesterday ordered the probe and warned of “strict action” based on the enquiry report, if anyone was found involved in wrong-doing.
In the report, Roopa has also mentioned about the “preferential” treatment being provided to fake stamp paper scam kingpin Abdul Karim Telgi in the prison.
Undertrials in his cell are allegedly being used to do his personal work like massaging his shoulders, arms and legs.
Noting that six months ago there was a court direction to provide Telgi with assistants as he was using a wheelchair, the DIG in her report said though now he was not dependent on it and was walking properly, three to four undertrials are still allowed in his cell to do his work.
“I think you too might have seen this on the CCTV installed in your chamber. Allowing undertrials with convicts like Telgi is against the prison rules. Despite knowing this, the superintendent of the jail has not taken any action,” she said.