Delhi excise policy case: Kejriwal lodged in Tihar Jail, govt faces ‘practical problems’

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal being taken to the Tihar Jail after a court ordered him to judicial custody till April 15 in connection with a money laundering case related to the Delhi liquor scam, in New Delhi, Monday, April 1, 2024. (Photo: IANS/Wasim Sarvar)

New Delhi, April 1 (IANS) The judicial custody of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, arrested on March 21 in connection with the excise policy case, was on Monday extended till April 15 and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor will now be lodged in Tihar Jail — a development that is expected to further complicate the process of running government from prison.

According to sources, Kejriwal will be lodged in Tihar’s Jail No 2 and will be permitted to meet Delhi government officials regarding the work as per names approved and submitted to court.

Kejriwal can also meet family members twice a week, but their names must be on a list that is cleared by prison security, while regular health check-ups will be provided for Kejriwal, who has diabetes.

Meanwhile, former Tihar jail PRO Sunil Kumar Gupta said it would be extremely challenging for him to run the government from behind the bars.

“There needs to be a dedicated support system for the Chief Minister. Currently, none of the 16 jails have the necessary infrastructure to accommodate a Chief Minister’s office,” said Gupta.

He further said that governance involves more than just signing documents as it requires conducting Cabinet meetings, holding consultations with ministers, engaging with staff, and communicating with the Lt Governor.

“Establishing a Chief Minister’s office within a jail is practically unfeasible. In contrast, inmates are allowed brief, recorded phone calls with their families daily,” said Gupta.

Kejrwal’s former deputy, Manish Sisodia is lodged in Tihar Jail No 1, while former Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain is in Jail No 7, and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh in Jail No 5.

According to prison sources, Kejriwal will be treated like other prisoners and at 6.30 a.m. along with tea and a few bread slices, he will be served breakfast, like other inmates.

“Lunch is served between 10.30 a.m. and 11 a.m., consisting of dal, sabzi, and either five rotis or rice. Between noon and 3 p.m., prisoners are confined to their cells. At 3.30 p.m, they receive tea and two biscuits and can meet with their lawyers at 4 p.m.,” a source said.

“An early dinner, mirroring lunch, is served at 5.30 p.m., followed by lockdown at 7 p.m. Kejriwal can watch television, except during designated prison activities, with access to 18 to 20 channels covering news, entertainment, and sports,” he said.

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