How Chidambaram spent his first night at Tihar

Chennai / New Delhi: Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram spent his first night at the Tihar jail Thursday after a CBI court sent him to two-week judicial custody in the INX Media case.

Quoting jail sources, reports said he remained restless throughout the night. According to officials, he has not been given special facilities, except a separate cell and a Western toilet as specified by the court.

After the mandatory medical check-up, Chidambaram was lodged in Jail No. 7, which usually houses those accused in Enforcement Directorate cases. Incidently, his son Karti was also lodged in this cell for 12 days in the same case last year.

He had a light dinner and his medicines on his first night in jail. “Chidambaram ate dal and rice for dinner. He skipped the mixed vegetables and rotis on Thursday’s jail menu,” reports said. He is allowed to keep his spectacles and the medicines prescribed to him. He was given a blanket and a pillow as part of his bedding allocation and a wooden plank was also provided to him to sleep on. Like other inmates, he will also have access to the prison’s library and can watch television for a specified period.

Chidambaram’s cell was prepared in advance, with the jail authorities anticipating that the senior Congress leader might turn up in view of the ongoing court cases against him, they said.

A prison official said food is usually served to the inmates between 7 and 8 pm but it is kept aside for those who arrive late due to court procedures. The usual dinner menu is rotis, dal, sabji and rice. Officials said Chidambaram can either drink water from a Reverse Osmosis plant or purchase packaged bottle from the canteen.

Chidambaram, who was also the Home Minister during UPA 2, was sent to 14-day judicial custody on Thursday in the INX Media corruption case.

The veteran Congress leader was brought to Asia’s largest prison from the Rouse Avenue Court amid high security. It took nearly 35 minutes for the jail authorities to bring Chidambaram to the prison from the court.

As the police van ferrying Chidambaram was being tailed by the media, jail authorities tried to hide his face with a document. He was taken inside the jail from gate no 4 of the prison. Later, his son Karti, along with lawyers, were also seen outside the jail. Chidambaram is a protectee under Z-security.

NT Bureau