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Tihar Jail told to reply to Bawana’s complaint of inhuman conditions

IANS | New Delhi |

A court here on Wednesday asked Tihar Jail officials to file reply on the plea of jailed gangster Neeraj Sehrawat, better known as Neeraj Bawana, to provide better hygienic conditions to inmates.

Additional Sessions Judge Rakesh Pandit asked Tihar Jail officials to file reply on the Bawana’s complaint regarding inhuman conditions inside the jail by October 16.

Bawana’s counsel M.S. Khan requested the court to issue direction to jail officials to provide better and hygienic conditions to his clients and other inmates.

Khan also requested the court to direct the Director General of Tihar Jail to file a detailed report on the condition of prisoners. He also asked the court to appoint a local commissioner to visit the jail and meet the inmates.

Bawana, in his application, told the court that he was kept in a high-risk ward of Jail Number 1 along with other 45 inmates and that once they even went on a hunger strike demanding basic facilities, proper food with lodging, medical facilities, etc.

He said they were kept locked 24 hours and not allowed to have fresh air and sunlight. The cells are stinking, have thousands of insects and plaster dust keeps falling from the wall, according to the petition.

The strike was called off after getting assurance from a Tihar Jail official, who visited the ward. But nothing was done to improve the condition, the application said, adding that instead, jail officials threatened inmates for going on strike again.

Bawana, former Delhi legislator Rambeer Shokeen, Pankaj Sehrawat, Sunil Rathi, Rahul Dabas, Naveen Dabas alias Bali, Naveen Hooda alias Bhanja, Amit Malik alias Bhura, Gurpreet Singh and Deepak Dabas alias Deepa are facing trial under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) for allegedly running an organised crime syndicate.

Police said in its chargesheet that the accused were running a crime syndicate which had been committing extortion and murders, apart from land grabbing and settling property disputes, all for pecuniary benefits.

Police have described Bawana as “a symbol of lawlessness” and “kingpin” of the racket, and Shokeen as the “political face” of the syndicate.

Shokeen was found using the clout of these criminals to contest MLA election to “further his political ambitions and gain pecuniary benefits”, police alleged.

On September 8, another Delhi court awarded seven years in jail to gangster Neeraj Bawana for illegal possession of firearms, but had acquitted him of attempt to murder charge and obstructing and assaulting a public servant and deterring him while discharging his duty.