Sukesh Chandrasekhar has alleged that the police tortured him as they support a rival political faction
The Delhi High Court today warned of "serious action" over alleged "torture" of Sukesh Chandrasekhar, accused in the Election Commission bribery case, in Tihar jail, saying any such incident will not be tolerated.
Justice Ashutosh Kumar issued a notice to the AAP government and the DG Prison of Tihar Jail and asked them to file a status report on the plea that alleged that Mr Chandrasekhar was strip-searched by jail officials while he was lodged in a high-risk ward.
In his plea through his counsel Aman Lekhi, the accused today alleged that he was being tortured by jail officials in connivance with the Tamil Nadu Special Police, which is handling the security of Tihar jail, because he was supporting the rival faction of the ruling AIADMK (Amma).
The court termed the allegations as serious and asked the jail authorities to ensure that the accused is not tortured in custody.
The court sought to know from jail authorities why the accused was kept in a high-risk cell meant for dangerous criminals.
"There has to be a reason why he was kept in a high-risk cell. We are concerned about the sexual attack on him. You (Tihar) need to explain why a person, who is being prosecuted for forgery and cheating, has been kept in high-risk ward?
"We need to know all the details. A mere status report denying the allegation will not work. Serious allegation has been raised of custodial violence which cannot be tolerated at all," the court said and listed the matter for hearing on August 22.
The court also sought CCTV footage details to see where Mr Chandrashekar was allegedly assaulted.
"We even need to get details of the CCTV footage of the area where accused was allegedly confined and assaulted. If it is not there, we will take action against the person involved. Details should be there. In the meantime, the accused should not be tortured and nothing shall happen to him."
"We will take this issue seriously as custodial violence is against the law. If there are no records, we will take serious action. We will be compelled to believe that the person was subjected to physical assault," it said.
Recently the Delhi Police Crime Branch has filed a charge sheet of over 700-pages alleging that Mr Chandrasekhar, who was arrested on April 16, had conspired with TTV Dinakaran to bribe the Election Commission (EC) officials to get the 'two leaves' symbol for the Sasikala-led AIADMK (Amma) faction.
The petition filed through advocate Gurpreet Singh alleged that "to the utter surprise and shock, he was subjected to illicit monetary demands", of around Rs 2 crore by jail authorities.
He urged that he be shifted to a prison other than the high-risk one to be protected from cruelty and torture.
The plea alleged that "he was shifted to the ward occupied by high-risk detainees and convicts endangering his life and was subjected to immense psychological pressure."
It said that two jail officials subjected him to a strip-search in gross violation of his right to live with dignity and that he was subjected to immense humiliation in front of other inmates.
"To exert unlawful psychological pressure on him, on the ill-fated day, he was made to shift to multiple wards and the harassment went on till much after the lock-in hours of the prison," it said.
Sukesh Chandrasekhar was denied bail by the high court on June 14 on the ground that the police had seized a fake Rajya Sabha member ID card from his possession which was a "serious threat on Parliament's security".
According to the police, they had allegedly recovered cash worth Rs 1.3 crore from him at the time of the raid at a hotel in the Chanakyapuri area of South Delhi.
Earlier, the police had told a trial court here that a supplementary final report would be filed later against other accused -- Mr Dinakaran's close aide TP Mallikarjuna, suspected hawala operators Nathu Singh and Lalit Kumar -- who are out on bail, after completing the probe against them.