LONDON: A British veteran was denied cancer treatment, another contracted hepatitis A and a third was forcibly put in a mental hospital and tied up, whilst incarcerated in Indian prisons.
The conditions that six British men, known as the ‘Chennai Six’, endured whilst in Puzhal prison in Chennai became the central plank of the argument put forward by prison condition expert Dr Alan Mitchell as to why billionaire businessman Vijay Mallya, who sat in the dock, should not be extradited to his home country.
The Court was also shown a medical report demonstrating that Mallya, 61, has diabetes, sleep apnea and coronary artery disease. Mitchell said “monitoring these diseases was important and diet would affect those conditions”.
The Chennai Six, who’ve just returned to the UK after charges against them were dropped at appeal, were denied medical treatment and given insufficient food, the court heard.
Mitchell, who has interviewed one of the men this week, said: “One had to petition the high court to be seen at a private hospital because of lack of medical facilities locally. He was diagnosed with cancer which had spread to his bones. But he was sent back to prison and for six months prior to his release received no medical aid at all.” Another had tooth abscess. “There was no dentist in the prison,” Mitchell said.
“He told me prisoners were provided with only one meal per day and food parcels sent from UK were often confiscated. There was no running drinking water in prison and had to take it from an open well. He has been diagnosed with hepatitis A subsequent to his release. The virus is transmitted via the fecal-oral route and associated with poor hygiene,” Mitchell said.
He added that the same man was committed to a psychiatric hospital by prison authorities on account of excessively walking around the prison. “Fifteen prison guards and prisoners grabbed him, took him to hospital and while there he was tied up, gagged, beaten, forcibly injected and force fed anti-psychotic tablets that he managed to spit out,” Mitchell said.
“He described rats, cockroaches, snakes running around and how local prisoners would openly defecate in the yard. For local Indian prisoners, to access any services they had to bribe the guards.”
Mitchell said he was “unaware of any effective protection” of the assurances the government of India had given the court about Mallya’s prison conditions.
“India is actively obstructing prison inspections,” added Mallya’s lawyer Clare Montgomery QC. She also said the Supreme Court of India‘s directions to states and prison authorities to improve prison conditions kept falling on deaf ears.
Mark Summers QC, representing the government of India, said Mallya would be held in Barrack 12 of Mumbai Central Prison.
Source : timesofindia