‘TN jail superintendent hit-man’: Iran mission moves SC to protect citizens

New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) A prison superintendent in Tamil Nadu has been allegedly termed as the “hit-man of the jail department” by the Iranian Consulate General, which said it was forced to move the Supreme Court to rescue its two citizens, lodged in jail in a Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act case.
A bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde and Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hrishikesh Roy said counsel for the petitioner seeks permission to withdraw this petition with liberty to approach the Madras High Court and permission is granted. The writ petition is dismissed as withdrawn, added the top court.
The Iranian Consulate General’s plea said: “The Superintendent is able to topple all investigations and enquiry easily because naturally no one dares to depose against his atrocities committed under swathe of duty. The present convict being a foreigner has somehow gained guts to have approached the petitioner (Consulate of Iran)…”
The plea, filed through advocate on record Rajiv Raheja, contended that prison Superintendent Senthil Kumar has committed various prison atrocities and has been summoned by the top court in a contempt case, and by the High Court for various inappropriate actions. “Criminal complaints filed by the victims of his torture are pending before various courts and criminal investigation on these grave charges are also pending,” said the plea.
The plea said Mosavi Masood and Mohammad Zaffari, both Iranian nationals, are currently lodged in Puzhal Central Jail in Chennai, and they fear for their lives from other local prisoners who are under the influence of Kumar.
The plea argued said that “it is reliably learnt that the casualties occasioned by him upon the jail inmates in jail style atrocious treatments are innumerable”.
The Iranian Consulate General urged the top court to produce the prisoners and direct the authorities to keep them safe till the process of repatriation is completed and they are safely handed over. The petition also sought that both the Iranian inmates should be necessary amenities to them as per the “Nelson Mandela Rules” which are the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
The two Iranian nationals were arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Tamil Nadu’s Sivaganga district for manufacturing methamphetamine in March 2013. On March 9, 2018, an NDPS Special Court had convicted them to 20 years of rigorous imprisonment.
The plea cited in December 2018, Iranian Consul General to India Mohammad Haghbin Ghomi had met Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and conveyed the grievances of the two Iranian convicts.
Additionally, the plea also sought judicial inquiry on the Prison Superintendent (along with his suspension until completion of inquiry) as well as a compensation amounting to Rs 1 crore each to the families of Masood and Zaffrani.

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