A day after jailed Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain complained in court about inadequate food and a 28-kg weight loss, more footage from Tihar Jail emerged in an apparent counteroffensive.
After viral videos of Mr Jain receiving massages in his prison cell, new CCTV footage shows him having salad, fruit and food from plastic containers. The minister has requested the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court to restrain the media from playing the CCTV videos and order an inquiry into how they were leaked.
The footage, capturing three days in September and October, shows the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) minister is enjoying his stay in a "luxury resort", the BJP said today, sharing videos. The minister had not lost 28 kg but had in fact "gained 8 kg" in jail, claimed BJP leaders.
Videos showing the minister receiving massages in his prison cell have been the subject of a fierce political row between Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP ahead of civic elections. The AAP's claim that the minister was getting physiotherapy was contradicted by prison officials who said the masseur is another prisoner, a man accused of raping his own daughter.
Mr Jain's complaint to a Delhi court that he was being "starved" in jail, especially while on a religious fast, has provoked another set of CCTV videos from his cell.
"The river Yamuna has been dirtied by the sins of AAP," said BJP leader and Union Minister Meenakshi Lekhi, calling the security footage from Mr Jain's cell "pretty hateful".
"Those who give character certificates to others have their own character getting exposed. Jail meant to house a criminal should be dealt with strict manner. There is food being served on platters, a masseur facility is available, it isn't a luxury resort," Ms Lekhi said according to news agency ANI.
BJP spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla shared the video with similar criticism.
Mr Jain had said in his court application that he had been denied proper food and medicine since his arrest on May 31. For the last 12 days, the jail administration has stopped providing him basic food conforming to his religious beliefs, Mr Jain alleged.
"The applicant is being starved by the jail authorities and is not being given sustenance or nutrition to even sustain his well-being. The applicant is entitled to the said basic food item in view of his religious beliefs and fast," his application said.
The minister's fast barred cooked food, pulses, grain and milk products, his lawyer argued, asserting that Mr Jain was "a strict adherent of Jainism".
"For the last almost six months, he has been surviving only on fruits, vegetables, seeds and dry fruits or dates. This he was purchasing from his own quota of ration available to all inmates. In the meantime, he has suffered a major fall in jail which led to a severe spine injury, for which he was treated by LNJP Hospital. He also has lung patches, which is a post-Covid symptom," Mr Jain's application claimed.
"The jail administration has stopped providing applicant with fruits or vegetables, mixed seeds, dry fruits and dates. Since applicant is on religious fast for last six months - the dietary intake of such basic food item are necessary for his sustenance, nourishment and survival," it said, flagging "a serious risk of protein and iron deficiency".
Stopping food during fasting was "illegal", "arbitrary" and amounted to "harassment", Mr Jain complained, citing his "right to a dignified human life".
Mr Jain was arrested in a money laundering case and charged with corruption. He was denied bail last week.