Mumbai: In some positive news coming out of the Arthur Road jail here, prison authorities plan to put up a new block of cells meeting international standards, said reports on Friday. The authorities have obviously taken umbrage to fugitive businessman Vijay Mallya’s allegations of “pathetic” prisons in India. (Also read: UK Court Not Happy With Indian Jail Conditions) Also Read - Vijay Mallya Has Applied For ‘Another Route’ to Stay in UK, Says Lawyer
According to a report in The Times of India, an old structure on the jail premises would be razed to make way for the block with about a dozen cells and toilets. The building is expected to be ready in six months and would be fit to house fugitive millionaires brought back home. (Also read: ‘Mallya Bought Bankers, Politicians, Govt’) Also Read - Jaishankar Raised Vijay Mallya's Extradition, UK Not Giving Details: Centre Tells SC
“As of now, we have limited cells that meet global standards. So we are going to build more modern cells for extradited smugglers, fraudsters and accused hiding abroad,” a jail official told the daily. “The cells will meet European and UK prison standards and all human rights criteria. The public works department has started work and received quotations for demolition of the building,” he said. Also Read - UK Court Denies Release of Substantial Funds For Vijay Mallya's Legal Fees
The new building would be able to address the trend of fugitive businessmen citing “poor jail conditions” as an excuse to oppose extradition. Meanwhile, videos of cells which housed some high-profile prisoners at Arthur Road have been shared with UK courts hearing the Mallya extradition case.
“They will be clean, have hygienic toilets, enough sun and light and space to move around,” said the officer.
Built for 800 prisoners, the Arthur Road jail currently has around 2,800. Besides Mallya, the CBI and ED are trying to bring back diamond merchants Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, accused in the PNB multi-crore scam. Since all of them need to be extradited, global human rights standards need to be met.