Inquiry into VIP treatment to Jagir Kaur

Chandigarh: Amid reports that VIP facilities including an LCD TV were being provided to Bibi Jagir Kaur, lodged in Theh Kanjla Jail in Kapurthala in connection with the abduction case of her daughter, a top Punjab Prisons official today ordered an inquiry into it.

Punjab DGP (Prisons) Shashi Kant also insisted that rules will be followed in the case. "I have ordered an inquiry and deputed an IG rank officer to conduct the probe. He will visit the jail and go into all the reports (talk of VIP treatment to Kaur). I don`t tolerate any non-sensical stuff and we don`t want any adverse publicity. Rules will have to be followed," Kant told PTI.

Kant further said that he had also shot off a letter to Kapurthala jail superintendent, S P Khanna, asking him to strictly follow the rules. "My one-line instruction to him was that rules have to be observed. I am also sending a team for inspection to Kapurthala Jail. I have asked the Jail superintendent that rules have to be observed at all costs," Kant said.

Asked to comment on reports that a 32-inch LCD TV and DTH dish antenna was installed in the jail yesterday, Kant said he had got it checked from Khanna and the Jail Superintendent told him that the article had not made its way inside the complex where prisoners are lodged.

"The Jail superintendent said the TV could have been purchased by someone living in the residential complex inside the jail complex. The outer gate of the jail is common and besides the Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent there are doctors and other staff who live in the residential quarters in the complex. It could have been for any of them," he said.

When his attention was drawn to media reports that suggested that there was beeline of visitors who wanted to meet 57-year-old Kaur, a SAD MLA who resigned as Punjab Cabinet Minister last week following her conviction, Kant said according to jail rules, friends and relatives can meet her.

"There is no specified number in jail manuals," he said when asked how many people can meet her in a day. Jagir Kaur was last week sent to jail after she was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment by a CBI court for conspiring in forcible abortion and abduction in connection with the mysterious death of her teenaged daughter Harpreet Kaur 12 years ago.

To express solidarity with Kaur, a number of people including her supporters and SAD leaders, have been thronging the jail complex to have a meeting with her. Kaur`s younger daughter Rajneet Kaur and son-in-law Yuvraj Singh were also reported to be by her side.

Last week, Punjab Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira had demanded sacking of the jail officials for allegedly touching the feet of Jagir Kaur after her conviction and sentencing in a case.

Khaira, the former Congress legislator, had alleged that jail officials, in both uniform and plain clothes, touched her feet.

There were reports that each day hundreds of cars could be seen parked outside the jail complex as there was heavy rush of visitors to meet Jagir Kaur, with one vehicle ferrying the elderly inside the jail after they alight from their cars outside.

Some people were also bringing lots of fruits with them for Jagir Kaur, a visitor who had gone to meet the jailed leader, told reporters outside the jail, adding that surplus fruits were later distributed among other jail inmates.

Kaur was the lone woman member in the 18-member Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP ministry which was sworn in earlier this month. Kaur, who resigned as Minister on moral grounds, was, however, acquitted of murder charge against her.