NEW DELHI

Court makes undertrial pay for `luxurious' treatment

NEW DELHI OCT. 31. On the pretext of old age and claiming sectarian advantage, a 75-year-old undertrial could well have held the Tihar Central Jail authorities to ransom while leading a luxurious life himself. However, a Delhi High Court order has ensured that he pays for the "luxurious'' treatment he is getting.

In a recent order, the Court ordered that the undertrial, Bajrang Singh Dalal arrested in a case of fraud, would pay for the expenditure of his treatment at a naturopathy centre in East Delhi.

Bajrang was arrested about five months ago on the directions of the High Court after it came to light that he had made a false admission in affidavit in a bid to appropriate a flat. After some time, Bajrang started complaining of medical problems, ranging from weaknesses due to bypass surgery, hypertension and blood pressure to other ailments associated with advancing age.

The jail authorities decided to give Bajrang allopathic treatment, as is the norm with other inmates. However, he refused to take that treatment. The authorities then suggested that he should get homeopathic, Ayurvedic and even alternative medicine like Yunani.

Bajrang would take none of it and remained adamant that he should be given naturopathic treatment. His reason: he belonged to the Satnami Sect, who do not believe in taking medicines. Following legal suggestions, the authorities decided to give him naturopathic treatment.

Naturopathic treatment entails taking lots of fruits, dry fruits and other natural products that are quite expensive. That time Bajrang decided to bear the expenses for his treatment, which amounted to Rs. 500 to 600 a day.

The real perk, however, was that Bajrang was taken outside the jail to a nature care centre, which was "according to his wishes''. He remained there for well over a month and paid the bills for his treatment while enjoying the luxury. About a month ago, he was transferred to the only other nature care centre -- Bapu Nature Care at Patparganj -- as authorities were facing administrative problems at the previous centre.

Bajrang began by paying Rs. 25,000 in advance to the care centre and continued leading a luxurious life. Not only that, he got a permanent nurse attending on him and became "out of bounds'' for the jail personnel. Whenever the jail personnel approached him for legal formalities, he snubbed them by saying that their presence increased his blood pressure, thereby reducing the effect of natural medicines.

The jail authorities somehow put up with Bajrang. However, after about a month, he stopped paying the bills on the pretext that he had not come "on his own'' and that it was the authorities who brought him to the centre. Ultimately, the authorities decided to approach the High Court.

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