After almost two years behind bars, Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist of the 26/11 attack, summed up his fate with these words: “Jo boya, wohi kata” (You reap what you saw). This was his answer to the team of politicians who went to the Arthur Road jail on a surprise visit on Tuesday.
Home minister RR Patil visited the jail with opposition leader Eknath Khadse (BJP) and Bala Nandgaonkar (MNS). Besides other inmates, they also met Kasab in his special cell.
When Khadse asked him about his feelings after being convicted in the case, the terrorist was candid and said that he got the reward for what he had done. However, he added that he had no issues in the jail.
Khadse later told DNA that he was satisfied with the security arrangements made for the terrorist. “We had to sign on at least seven registers before meeting Kasab. We went through at least five tiny doors of cells that were made of iron walls. Kasab is very safe in the jail,” he said.
While taking stock of facilities for other inmates in the jail, the team found out that some of them enjoyed special privileges of some items. However, the jail authorities told Patil that the privileges given to the prisoners were according to court orders. They, in fact, put more than 30 files before the team.
Khadse said that he was surprised to see the court orders for providing fans, hair oil, cashew nuts, almonds, Rooh Afza sherbet etc to some prisoners.
Following this, the home department has decided to make an appeal in the high court to quash this practice in the jail.
The state assembly had witnessed an uproar during its monsoon session in July after an incident of fight between two dreaded criminals in Arthur Road jail.
Citing the media reports, Khadse and Nandgaonkar had raised questions about the special facilities being provided to certain inmates. Patil had assured the house that he would take members from the opposition benches on a visit to the jail to assess the actual situation.
Some prisoners complained to Patil that the authorities do not produce them in court on the trial dates.
“Patil asked the jail authorities to produce the undertrial prisoners in court on time,” said Surendra Kumar, inspector general, prisons.
Patil said that though the jail accommodates prisoners three times its capacity — 2,200 prisoners against the capacity of 781 — it was impossible for the authorities to shift prisoners to other jails.