At one point, the DG actually claims that the DIG - who has 17 years of experience - ‘doesn’t know anything’.

In Karnataka its DG vs DIG over Sasikalas special treatment in prison
news Prison Affairs Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 14:45

The explosive report submitted by IPS officer Roopa on special privileges allegedly doled out to AIADMK General Secretary Sasikala at the Parappana Agrahara Central Prison in Bengaluru has triggered a huge war. The DIG Prisons’ accusation that Sasikala bribed her way into gaming the system, has angered her supervising officer - the DG of Prisons, Satyanarayana Rao.

In a Press Conference in Bengaluru on Thursday, Satyanarayana Rao slammed Roopa for her report, which points a finger at him. Roopa, for her part, also held a press conference; she stood by all her allegations, and said she’s open to an investigation on her report.

Here’s a blow-by-blow account of the DG vs DIG war that’s brewing in Karnataka’s prisons department.

Was Sasikala given special treatment in prison?

DG denies: No one in the prison is being given special treatment. No bribes were taken. Let her prove who took the bribe, when and where. All these are false, baseless and wild allegations. Sasikala has been lodged in an ordinary women’s barrack on the first floor of the prison. No matter how much influence is being used, we are not relenting, and have curbed visitation to once in 15 days.

DIG challenges: I went to the prison for inspection after the assault on the medical staff was reported. Since no report was filed, I did not want any lapse on my behalf. Hence, I conducted the inquiry. There are eight points in my letter and all of it has proof. Let there be a fact-finding inquiry to see if I am lying or not. Then the truth will come out.

Was the report a media stunt?

DG’s charge: The DIG of Prisons, IPS officer Roopa, had sent the letter to me after the office hours were over. The letter did not reach me, and I did not know about the goings-on. She could have had a discussion with me instead of going to the media. I have advised her before to not take prison matters to the media, as these are sensitive issues. If a subordinate officer has made an observation, she should come to me instead of going to the media.

DIG’s response: The letter reached the DG’s office sometime between 4.30 and 5pm the very day I wrote it. It reached before end of office hours. The written letter was meant to inform the DG of the findings of the inquiry, which is why I wrote him the letter. I have not violated any rules under the Official Secrets Act. All the information in the report can be given out if an RTI application is filed. I am not unaware of the laws. I do not have any vested interest in filing the report. I had written to my superior and asked him to address the rumours that are doing the rounds. What does it mean when he says I did not inform him?

The threat of legal action

DG’s threat: This is the first time the DIG has been posted for prison duty. She does not have experience and does not know how to go about doing things. I will take legal action against her for spreading false news against me.

DIG’s retort: What does he mean by the ‘she doesn’t know anything?’ The government is not going about posting IPS officers for prison duty who lack the acumen. I have been a police officer for 17 years now. It is silly to say I don’t know anything.

The insubordination charge

DG’s charge: IPS officer Roopa was supposed to attend a meeting organised by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, on June 29. I had explicitly asked her to attend the meeting. Instead, she went to Parappana Agrahara. I have sent her a memo, asking her to explain her actions.

DIG’s response: The DG himself has handed over the supervision of the Central Prison to me. I was just doing my duty.

‘What’s new about drugs?’

DG’s justification: Ganja smuggling is not new in prisons. There are many addicts in there. We conduct regular checks and have filed multiple complaints against offenders at the Parappana Agrahara police station, whose officers are probing the cases. If any lapse is found on behalf of prison staff, they too have been punished in the past. I do not have anything more to say.

DIG’s rejoinder: Yes, ganja smuggling is not a new issue in prisons; I was just keeping the DG informed about those who were violating the rules.