Biriyani rate shoots up to Rs 700 in Puzhal prison

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Chennai: Puzhal prison, controversy’s favourite child, is at it once again. And this time too for a wrong reason.

The latest charge being made on officials at the Central jail is that- the prizes of food items and other things which are being illegally sold to the inmates have gone exorbitantly high following the recent raids and seizures.

“A few corrupt officials have taken advantage of the raids and have increased the rates. For instance, biriyani which was sold for Rs 500 is now 700 and a boiled egg is prized at Rs 50. It was Rs 30 earlier,” reports stated.

These reports surfaced after a video of Puzhal inmates preparing biriyani in a huge vessel in the jail premises came out on the social media.

When News Today contacted a prison official, he said, “That was an old video. The biriyani was prepared for last Ramzan festival. A group of inmates had requested a higher official to give them the necessary items to prepare biriyani and celebrate the festival. The permission was granted on humanitarian grounds. This does not happen often.”

The source of the video, the official said, was from the memory card of an inmate lodged at the High Security Block-I. The other pictures of prisoners leading a ‘luxurious’ life in jail were also from his memory card. He is now transferred out of Puzhal prison.

Responding to allegations that inmates were being provided with ‘special’ food items and other banned products for increased rates, he said, “after the photographs were circulated, we closed the canteen. Then how it is possible for them do it? Such things are not taking place.”

“A large number of inmates are diabetes patients. They are given two chappathis for dinner and if they want more, they have to pay for it. We are doing it based on their health conditions and within law. This is the only food item for which we charge them.”

However, a police source said, “there are many groups in Puzhal 1. Terrorists and other high profile criminals are lodged at HSB-I. It is here that all the atrocities happen. There are allegations that they are even taken out of jail to restaurants to eat food of their choice. The regular inmates take advantage of the new admissions. Separate food is being prepared, cooked and sold at high rates. This is done with the knowledge of officials.”

According to reports, after the photos were circulated as many as 17 prison wardens were transferred out. And the prison campus was raided five times by senior officials.

During the raids, television and radio sets were taken away and charging points were removed. Seventy kilograms of Basmati rice and cooking vessels were confiscated.

Naomi N