Did stardom help Kannada actor Darshan skip jail?

Did stardom help Kannada actor Darshan skip jail?
Bangalore Though the police claim to have a strict set of rules in place at the Central Jail in the city, being a celebrity in the Kannada film industry might have the authorities bending over backwards to avoid star tantrums.

The drama began with movie star Darshan being taken into custody by the police for assaulting his wife and threatening her at gunpoint on Friday night.

Though it is a well-known fact that visitors are not allowed into the jail premises after lockdown, a group of celebrities allegedly managed to get in and make a mockery of all the rules.

Around 8.30 pm, Darshan had barely entered the gates of the jail with a police escort when he collapsed, and was then whisked away to a ward in the prison hospital.

Among those who went along with the police escort were his brother Dinakar, Duniya Vijay, Prem and Bullet Prakash and they began demanding that Darshan be shifted to a better hospital for treatment, since he was having an asthma attack.

The prison authorities informed them that the hospital was well equipped to handle the situation, but they continued to make phone calls on their mobile phones to exert pressure to have him shifted.

Pulling strings?
Vijay, Prem and Bullet, who seem to have been acquainted with the prison officials, finally managed to get permission to have Darshan treated outside and ignored the jail hospital doctor's advice.

The drama continued into the wee hours of Saturday and according to sources in the prison, soon after obtaining permission to move him, the authorities sought help from the City Armed Reserve police to escort Darshan to another hospital.

Their request was turned down, following which an escort was arranged by the jurisdictional Parappana Agrahara police.

"This is a blatant violation of prison rules since hundreds of inmates suffering from asthma are getting treatment in the jail hospital.

Why is it that Darshan can't?" prison officials questioned, alleging that the star was also reported to have smoked a cigarette during the drama.

Cash and carry?
Interestingly, Vijay had shot for his upcoming movie Bheematirada Hantakaru in the Central Jail a few days before the Darshan incident and during the stint, he allegedly got acquainted with prison authorities, which helped him pull strings.

Sources said Vijay expressed his gratitude for allowing the shoot by arranging to pay the fines of some of the inmates languishing in the jail and this allegedly had made him some friends.

He is said to have befriended Chief Superintendent Lakshmi Narayana, Superintendent Lingaraju and Assistant Superintendents Anitha, Satish and Doddakamaiah, which allowed him and his friends to make a mockery of the rules.

In addition, most of the drama has been recorded by CCTV cameras, which are installed within the prison premises.

Quick dash
After being taken to NIMHANS, Darshan was shifted to Rajiv Gandhi Hospital for Chest Diseases.

Meanwhile, the director of Rajiv Gandhi Hospital, Dr Sashidhar Buggi said, "Darshan is being treated for asthma. We suspect that his problem became aggravated due to stress and we are treating him."

Vijay told MiD DAY that the allegations about entering the prison premises at that part of the night was all hearsay.

He said, "The prison department has strict rules, so how would they have allowed me inside the prison premises?

I waited outside the gates all the time to give my friend moral support and also accompanied him to NIMHANs when he was brought outside."

The other side
The Chief Superintendent of the jail, Lakshmi Narayana, refuted the allegations and said that no one was allowed inside the prison.
 
His version of the incident was that Darshan was brought to the prison around 8. 30 pm and he collapsed in front of the gate immediately on reaching.
 
"The prison staff rushed him to the hospital ward and admitted him. Since he did not show signs of recovery or respond to treatment till 2.30 am, it was decided to shift him to NIMHANS," Narayana said.

On whether the hospital ward was equipped to treat Darshan, Narayana said, "When I asked him, he kept pointing to the left side of his chest and crying out in pain.
 
I thought he might have been in shock due to the day-long developments and decided to shift him to NIMHANs to have a brain scan conducted."
Story First Published: September 12, 2011 11:32 IST

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