Raghava M.

Prison officials have not conceded the demand

They have sought the help of a dietician

BANGALORE: The high-profile undertrial Abdul Karim Telgi is missing home food. One month into his remand at the Bangalore Central Prison, the main accused in the stamp paper racket is citing loneliness, diabetes and HIV infection as reasons for wanting food from home.

Prison officials, though sympathetic, have not conceded his demand as they fear hanky-panky; but they are trying to make him feel “at home”.

Officials have sought a dietician’s help to see if something can be done. “We will prepare food according to the advice of the dietician. We will provide Telgi with whatever is necessary to keep him in good health. He is an important person,” said a senior prison official on condition of anonymity.

Moves court

Telgi moved the Special Court hearing the stamp paper case on his gastronomic needs. The court asked the prison officials to respond in accordance with the norms prescribed in the Prison Manual.

Telgi is the main accused in the stamp paper racket, which spread over seven States, including Karnataka, where guesstimates put the loss to State exchequers at about Rs. 30,000 crore, and there are several cases registered against him and his alleged associates.

Underlying his importance in the stamp paper case, Telgi is lodged in a barricaded room. The Chief Superintendent of the prisons is personally keeping a tab on him through a closed-circuit television camera. In addition to prison personnel, the police too are guarding his cell.

Senior prison officials have been conducting regular searches and surprise visits to ensure that there is no movement of contraband articles and mobile phones to and from his cell.

On June 2, Telgi was moved from Yerwada Central Prison, Pune, where he was shifted for security reasons in 2004, back to the Bangalore Central Prison. He was brought back following the order of the Special Court, which faced difficulty in proceeding with the hearings because of the failure of the videoconferencing facility in Yerwada. Through videoconferencing Telgi was able to appear on a screen electronically and present his case in various courts where cases have been filed in the stamp paper racket.

Since his arrival last month, prison personnel have been monitoring his health round the clock.

Under observation

Apart from keeping track of his blood pressure and sugar levels, the prison doctors are also observing the progress of his HIV infection. The results of the latest HIV test in Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital a few days ago showed him to be normal. “He is also being given fruits and other eatables in between breakfast, lunch and dinner to keep his sugar level under control,” the official said.