‘Absolutely shameless’: SC slams Tihar jail authorities for colluding with Unitech’s Chandras

The Supreme Court on Thursday slammed the Tihar jail authorities for colluding with former directors of Unitech, Sanjay Chandra and his brother Ajay Chandra, who were allegedly engaging in illegal activities from inside the jail and attempting to derail the investigation.

A bench comprising Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and M.R. Shah said: “We have lost all faith in the Tihar Jail authorities! They are sitting in the capital city and defeating the order of the Supreme Court! Absolutely shameless on the part of the Superintendent of the Tihar jail!”

The bench told senior advocate Vikas Singh, representing the Chandra brothers, that “once we have revoked your facilities, you are only entitled to as much as the other undertrials”.

“This is defeating the jurisdiction of this court and the investigation by the ED,” it added.

Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, representing the ED, submitted before the bench that Chandra brothers were operating from the jail, and the agency also found their secret underground office, from where hundreds of original property sale deeds, digital signatures, and computers with sensitive information were seized. She further added the brothers had deputed staff outside the Tihar jail premises for communication on disposing of the properties.

The top court said that the status report by the forensic auditor established they did not provide access to all electronic records, including those which were in possession of the chief financial officer of Unitech, which was lack of cooperation.

Coming down hard on the Tihar Jail authorities, the court said that they have acted absolutely in connivance with the Chandras and the jail has virtually become a haven for carrying out unlawful activities and for defeating the orders of the apex court.

It said it will shift the brothers elsewhere and directed them to be shifted to the Arthur Road jail and Taloja jail in Mumbai.

The bench directed that Chandra brothers will not get any additional facilities apart from those which are available in the normal course according to the jail manual.

The bench noted that the Enforcement Directorate has filed two status reports dated April 5, and August 16, and the latter contained a letter from its Assistant Director to the Delhi Police Commissioner, listing specific details of the manner in which the premises of Tihar jail have been used for engaging in illegal activities by flouting the jail rules, making efforts to dissipate the proceedings, and attempting to derail investigation and influencing witnesses.

It asked why Delhi police chief has not taken any action for 10 days despite the ED’s communication in connection with allegations against the jail authorities, and him to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within four weeks.