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Private luxury for undertrials
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 4
The under-trial prisoners and convicts, having high connections or “money power” can enjoy comforts of home by getting themselves admitted to private AC rooms of the government hospitals.

Doctors claim they don’t have any option but to treat the undertrial prisoners or convicts once they are referred to them by medical officers of the jail.

A surprise raid by the Vigilance Bureau here today found one convicted Bikramjit Singh, of Bohar Wala village admitted to a private air-conditioned room of the Jallianwala Bagh hospital, thereby putting the hospital authorities in a piquant situation. He was arrested along with his two brothers — Kulwant Singh and Rachhpal Singh following a murderous attack on Rawel Singh on January 10.

According to Sukhdev Singh, district police chief (Vigilance Bureau), the alleged culprit told the raiding police party he had got the AC room by “bribing” the SMO. He added Tilak Raj, who allotted room himself admitted he had allotted the private room at the behest of the SMO. There was no record of the allotment of private AC room in the hospital register which showed connivance of the hospital staff.

However, civil surgeon Dr Lehmbar Singh said he has yet to study the rules because he was facing such situation for the first time. He refused to make any comment on the allotment of AC room to a convicted person by throwing by disregarding rules.

Sources said Bikramjit Singh was admitted to the hospital on September 29 following a health problem on the recommendation of the Jail hospital . According to DSP (VB) Amrik Singh Panwar the convicted person was given AC room against the rules . As per rules, he should have been kept in general ward. SMO, Dr S.K. Kapur, on whose orders the convicted was reportedly kept in the AC room was not available for comments . He was not picking up his cell phone for obvious reasons .

SSP ( VB) Sukhdev Singh said he would send a report against the SMO to his headquarter for taking action .

However, the doctors claim they don’t have any option but to treat the under-trial prisoners or convicts once they are referred to them by medical officers of the jail. The jail hospital is ‘ill-equipped’.

However, they failed to give any satisfactory reply whether an under-trial prisoner or convict could be allotted a private AC room. Earlier Sawinder Singh Kathunanngal, then Congress MLA, was shifted from jail to this hospital during Amarinder Singh’s government .

In 2003 owner of a poultry farm, arrested on the charge of murder, was admitted to the hospital. He would go to his home everyday. On a tip-off, the accused was caught from his home and four policemen on guard were suspended. A senior Akali leader (now MLA) had spent a fortnight in a family ward during the Congress regime.

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