Population explosion at Tihar Jail in six months

The number of inmates and death penalty convicts in particular has gone up remarkably in that period

Reasons may be numerous, but the fact remains that Tihar Jail authorities have lately been jostling with the increasing strength of the prison and number of convictions by courts. If Tihar sources are to be believed, in the last six months, 2,000 inmates have been lodged in the prison ´┐Ża remarkable figure. Another startling fact is that the number of death penalty convicts has also increased in the same time period.

Number game: Santosh Kumar, accused in the murder of Priyadarshini
Mattoo, plays cricket at Tihar Jail. The jail houses almost double the
capacity of inmates at present. file pic

Long rope
"Earlier, on an average, 12-15 prisoners with death sentences were lodged in Tihar. The number has now gone up to 22," said sources. They also said that against the sanctioned strength of 6,250 inmates, at present, nearly 12,500 inmates have been accommodated in Asia's biggest prison. Public relations officer (PRO) and law officer of Tihar Jail, Sunil Gupta confirmed the information.

Sources said as compared to 2010, when 18 per cent accused got convicted and 82 per cent remained under trial, this year 25 per cent have been convicted and rest are under trial. "These figures suggest the conviction rate has varied and the courts, at least in the Capital, have become more stringent," they said. The other factor could be the increased rejection of bails.

"There are a lot of VIPs in the jail at present (A Raja, Suresh Kalmadi and Kanimozhi, for instance). Though a lot of analysts don't pay attention to this fact, the main reason they are in jail is because their bail appeal was declined. The court has become strict while granting bails," said sources.

Another jail in Delhi soon
Tihar officials said that Mandoli jail which is in the pipeline for the past many years will now be ready by 2012. It can accommodate 3,500 inmates which will provide some respite to Tihar Jail. Besides, semi-open jail proposals are also underway.

The latest death penalty
On September 8 this year, a Delhi court had sentenced five people to death in a 2008 honour killing case. The judge awarded the death sentence to Mohammad Saleem, Shaheen Abbas, Shahid Wasim, Shaheen Zargam Ali and Sabbir Kasim, holding them guilty of murder. He also imposed a fine of Rs 20,000 on each.

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