Naresh Kumar, Delhi Chief Secretary, on Monday suspended Tihar jail superintendent Ajit Kumar over allegations that he was giving preferential treatment to the detained Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) minister Satyendar Jain at the central jail in conjunction with prison authorities.
“… Ajit Kumar, Ad-hoc DANICS/ Superintendent, Central Jail No. 7, is hereby placed under suspension with immediate effect… it is further ordered that during the period that this order shall remain in force, the headquarters of Sh. Ajit Kumar should be Delhi and… (he) shall not leave the headquarters without obtaining the previous permission,” a letter signed by Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar read.
The rule allows the government to suspend officials if disciplinary proceedings against them are being investigated or are already underway. According to reports, the decision was made after Kumar was discovered to have committed violations and granted favors to Jain. When Jain was detained, he was the Delhi Home Minister.
Ajit Kumar is the second senior jail officer to face charges in less than a week, following claims of preferential treatment being provided to the minister. Last week, Sandeep Goel, the Director General of Prisons, was transferred from the Tihar Jail, only days after imprisoned conman Sukesh Chandrashekhar alleged that he had paid protection money to Delhi minister Satyendar Jain. Goel was replaced by 1989 batch IPS officer Sanjay Beniwal.
Earlier on November 1, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had informed the Delhi Court that AAP Minister Satyendar Jain, who has been charged in a money laundering case, was being treated specially in the Tihar jail. The ED submitted the CCTV footage of the Tihar jail which allegedly showed Jain getting preferential treatment inside Tihar Jail.
The ED had said that Jain was being given foot massage and body massage while in the cell and that he was being served fresh-cut fruits and green salad directly in his cell by an unidentified individual. The ED further contended that Jain’s cell is being cleaned, mopped, and broomed by an unidentified person under the supervision of co-accused Ankush Jain.
The ED also said that Jain was continuously and easily able to meet co-accused Ankush Jain, Vaibhav Jain, and also his wife, Poonam Jain who visits him often in the cell. The ED alleged that the accused was violating all the norms of the jail and was meeting the jail superintendent every day, which is against the rules.
The ED attached assets worth Rs 4.81 crores linked to Jain and his family in April. The ED launched an investigation in the case based on an FIR which was registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against Jain and others under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
It is alleged that while Jain was a public servant, his companies received up to Rs. 4.81 crores from shell companies via the Hawala network. Satyendar Jain was arrested and detained by the Enforcement Directorate on May 31, 2022.