A controversy erupted on Saturday after leaked videos of jailed Minister Satyendar Jain purportedly receiving foot and head massage inside Tihar prison surfaced on social media and news channels.
Mr. Jain moved court seeking contempt proceedings against the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for allegedly leaking the video even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attacked the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for “arranging special facilities” for the Minister in jail, where he is lodged since May in an alleged money laundering case.
Hitting back, AAP claimed the BJP was “mocking” a medical situation as Mr. Jain had injured his spine after falling down in jail and was receiving physiotherapy recommended by doctors.
In the videos shared by the BJP, Mr. Jain can be seen lying on a bed and getting a “foot massage” from a man. A pack of bottled mineral water is also visible in one of the videos, while in another clip, he can be seen talking to four men. A charging cable and a gadget, which seems to be a remote control, can also be seen in the videos.
Later in the day, Mr. Jain’s legal team filed a contempt plea in the court of Justice Vikas Dhull in the Rouse Avenue courts in which it maintained that the videos of the Minister were leaked by the ED. The investigating agency had earlier given an undertaking in court that it will not make the footage public.
The court issued a notice to the ED questioning how the video got leaked and fixed the matter for hearing on Monday.
BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia questioned Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s silence on the issue of “VVIP culture”. “AAP has today become a spa-massage party,” he said during a press conference.
Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta wrote to Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena seeking a high-level inquiry into the Tihar jail arrangements. Mr. Gupta also requested the L-G to order 24-hour surveillance of Mr. Jain’s prison cell.
AAP senior leader and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia backed his Cabinet colleague, saying Mr. Jain was undergoing physiotherapy for a spine injury. “He underwent two surgeries through which nerve blocks were implanted. While discharging him from hospital, the doctors recommended that he needed regular physiotherapy. These people [BJP] took a video of the physiotherapy session and are now making fun of him. Don’t you feel ashamed?” Mr. Sisodia said.
He said anyone can fall ill and need treatment, including someone in jail, “but only BJP can do dirty politics on someone’s illness”.
“You are doing all this because you are about to lose the elections. You have sensed defeat in Gujarat and Municipal Council of Delhi elections. Nothing can be more indecent than this. This is such a cheap mentality,” said Mr. Sisodia.
He alleged that the video was leaked to give effect to the BJP’s “conspiracy” and termed it “wilful disobedience” of the court’s order.
The BJP, meanwhile, reiterated its demand for the sacking of Mr. Jain from the Delhi Cabinet. “The password to the vault of corruption is with mastermind Satyendar Jain and therefore Kejriwal is giving him all the facilities so that his own secrets do not come out,” Mr. Bhatia said.
“It seems that the man who comes to give massage to Jain is sent by Kejriwal. In a video, the man can be seen giving a bundle of documents to Jain, which he then checks. The documents were given on the directions of Kejriwal,” the BJP leader said, adding that evidence against Mr. Jain “was being destroyed” with a number of people visiting the AAP leader in prison.
Earlier this week, a Tihar jail Superintendent, Ajit Kumar, was suspended after the ED levelled allegations in the court that Mr. Jain was receiving “special treatment” in jail.