Where have jailed MPs disappeared, wonders Tihar

July 22nd, 2008 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Bharatiya Janata Party
By Sahil Makkar
New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Five jailed MPs who were brought from various parts of in India to the national capital to take part in the trust vote in parliament and were supposed to spend the nights at Tihar Jail seem to have given prison officials the slip. Out of the five MPs, most of whom are serving sentences for murder, only Samajwadi Party MP Afzal Ansari turned up at Tihar - that too only on Sunday. The jail authorities now claim to have no information on their whereabouts.

“We have been expecting at least five MPs - Atiq Ahmed, Afzal Ansari, Mohammed Shahabuddin, Umakant Yadav and Suraj Bhan - in the jail for the past two days,” Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Prison C.R. Garg told IANS.

“Only one MP, Ansari, came on Sunday and spent one night in the jail. He left jail number 4 early Monday but did not come back.

“We have no information about any of them,” he said Tuesday.

Though the presence of these convicted or under-trial MPs in the capital for the trust vote moved by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, it has given nightmares to jail officials.

According to highly placed sources, after the parliament session, Ansari was taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Monday where he stayed overnight.

He was serving time in Ghazipur jail in Uttar Pradesh for murdering a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA, but was brought to Delhi to vote in the trust motion introduced Monday by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Besides the five MPs from outside Delhi, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Pappu Yadav, serving a life sentence for the murder of CPI-ML legislator in jail number 3, was also let out for the parliament session.

Ansari and Pappu Yadav had left for parliament at the same time though in different vehicles Monday. Officers of Delhi Armed Police accompanied them.

A jail official who accompanied Pappu Yadav and Ansari to parliament for the special session Monday said: “Both the MPs left the prison early in the morning, but only Pappu Yadav came back.

“Of course, they had a wonderful time eating food of their own choice (in parliament). They remained out for as long as they could!”

Sources said Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MP Umakant Yadav, who was lodged in Fatehgarh jail in Uttar Pradesh in a murder case, was admitted to the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. So he was not brought to Tihar.

Garg said they had no knowledge on the whereabouts of RJD MP Shahabuddin, who was brought to the capital from Siwan jail in Bihar to vote for the government.

The same was the case with Samajwadi Party MP Ahmed, who was convicted for the murder of a BSP MLA and was serving time in a Mainpuri district jail in Uttar Pradesh.

While Tihar Jail authorities claimed to have no knowledge about Shahabuddin - charged with the murder of CPI-ML activist Chandrasekar - he was spotted in the Lok Sabha. He was seated with party MP Pappu Yadav.

Senior jail officials also showed ignorance about the whereabouts of Lok Janshakti Party MP Suraj Bhan. He is serving a life term for the murder of Rami Singh, a resident of Madhurapur, in 1992.

Jail sources said all these days Pappu Yadav used to be hooked to television channels at Tihar Jail, closely monitoring political developments.

“Pappu Yadav watched used to watch television channels through the night and discuss the political scenario with his fellow inmates,” jail sources said.

“Yadav could be even seen boasting to fellow inmates about good times in the future. He even said his government would be in power soon,” a source added, speaking on condition of anonymity.

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