BENGALURU: It’s a virtual who’s who at the Central Jail in Bengaluru, what with a sudden influx of the rich, the powerful and the glamorous. The jail barracks can boast of being a VVIP zone: there’s former Bengaluru Mayor Sampath Raj, Bineesh Kodiyeri, son of CPM General Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan from neighbouring Kerala, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala, actors Ragini Dwivedi and Sanjjanaa Galrani.
Joining this motley group of powerbrokers and Page 3 undertrials is former minister Roshan Baig, Qaidi no. 8823, for his alleged role in the IMA ponzi scam. Ever since main accused Mansoor Khan released an audio tape claiming that Baig had taken Rs 400 crore from him, the latter has been on the radar of probe agencies. Another former minister, Vinay Kulkarni, is lodged in Hindalga Jail in Belagavi in connection with the brutal murder of ZP member Yogeeshgouda Goudar in 2016.
The sensational killing, in a gymnasium in Dharwad, had created a furore in political circles. The cases allegedly involving these VVIPs are linked to public crimes and scams. Sampath Raj was taken into custody on the suspicion that he was behind the mob violence in DJ Halli in Bengaluru.
Central Jail is no stranger to VVIP inmates, as political life and prison seem to go hand in hand. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had spent 25 days here during his previous stint, and so were his former cabinet colleagues G Janardhan Reddy, Katta Subramanya Naidu and S N Krisnaiah Setty.
It has also seen the likes of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and former Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani during the Emergency.It is a known fact that while political prisoners are lodged here, they do their best to move to the jail hospital on medical grounds, to escape the ignominy of prison.
As one expert commented, “The law makes a difference only between undertrials and convicts. Those in judicial custody are lodged together in the same jail, however, those who are convicted are in a separate section.’’In recent times, KPCC President D K Shivakumar spent 60 days in Tihar Jail, and both current Home Minister Amit Shah and former Home Minister P Chidambaram have done jail terms.