Subrata Roy example to help Kejriwal work from jail

The Aam Aadmi Party plans to plead in court that a part of the Tihar Central Jail complex be declared as ‘prison’ to allow Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to gain access to video conferencing and other office facilities essential to run the Delhi government.

According to AAP insiders, the party’s legal team is doing spadework to petition the court citing precedents when undertrials were allowed to operate their offices from inside Tihar jail.

“The most high-profile precedent is that of Sahara group’s Subrata Roy who got permission from court to use office facility inside Tihar jail to negotiate sale of his luxury hotels in New York and London to raise his bail money. In 2014, the special court complex inside Tihar was declared ‘jail’ by director-general (prisons),” a senior AAP functionary, who did not wish to be identified, told ET.

Read: Arvind Kejriwal misled probe, called partymen confused: ED to Court

The functionary said that Unitech promoters Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra were also found to be illegally operating an office from Tihar jail. “If those who have swindled money of the people can run their offices, the court should not have a problem to grant the request of an elected chief minister for similar facilities.” Under the Prisons Act, the director-general (prisons) or the lieutenant-governor have the powers to declare any facility as a “prison” for security reasons or for ease of operation.

With Kejriwal remanded to jail and refusing to quit as CM, an unprecedented situation has emerged for the first time in history, of a CM insisting on running the government from behind bars. As per Rule 1349 of the Jail Manual, only 10 facilities are extended to an undertrial prisoner – legal defence, interviews with lawyers or family members (for legal purposes), signing vakalatnamas, delegation of power of attorney, execution of will, essential religious necessities as per rules, applications to courts for legal aid at government cost as per provisions of law, other applications to courts, application to legal aid societies for free legal aid and such other facilities as are sanctioned by the government. These do not include video conferencing facilities or signatures on files.

Harry Byrne

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