The vigilance wing of the Maharashtra prisons department has ordered a probe into how Yerawada jail officers allowed director Rajkumar Hirani to meet convicted actor Sanjay Dutt on September 24. Their pictures also appeared in the media the next day. As per the prison manual, only the immediate kin are allowed to meet inmates.
Sanjay Dutt who is currently lodged in jail in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case, was scheduled to participate in a cultural programme with 40 inmates. Scheduled to be held at Balgandharva Rangmanch on Jangli Maharaj Road on September 26, the programme was to be attended by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
However, just a few hours before it was to begin, the show was called off. Jail authorities had then said it had been postponed due to “increased security threat perception”. The show, in fact, had been sold out despite each ticket costing Rs 1,000. All money was subsequently returned to buyers.
While Marathi actor Rahul Solapurkar was asked by the jail department to guide the inmates for the programme titled ‘Teemiratuni...Tejakade’ (from darkness to light), and had visited the jail as per the procedure, sources with the Yerawada jail said Hirani was requested by senior officers to give ‘final touches’ to the performances. The suggestion to rope in Hirani had reportedly come from Dutt.
On September 24, Hirani, Solapurkar and Dutt’s lawyer went to Yerawada jail and the director saw the rehearsal and gave some suggestions. In one of the pictures that appeared in the media, Dutt can be seen with two jail officers, Solapurkar and Hirani. On September 26, when the inmates were getting ready to be taken to the venue, the show was postponed.
It will now be investigated how jail officials allowed the ‘illegal’ visit. As per rules, apart from the immediate kin only a friend and lawyer — whose names have been listed by the inmate at the time of admission — are allowed to visit him/her. Also, taking photos on jail premises is not allowed without the permission of an officer of Inspector General rank.
Additional Director General (prisons) Meeran Borwankar said, “Yes, I have ordered a vigilance inquiry.”
A source with the prisons department said, “Statements of the officers will be recorded by the vigilance wing and a report will be submitted to Borwankar. It will also be probed how photos of the rehearsal were taken without permission