Ranchi, Oct 1: It is a prison built in memory of legendary freedom fighter Birsa Munda. It is now turning out to be a virtual second home for tainted politicians and officials in Jharkhand.
Munda was hanged in the old Central Jail at age 24. It was named after him after the country became independent.
The prison was shifted to Hotwar from the heart of Ranchi in 2008, eight years after Jharkhand was formed Nov 15 — Munda’s birthday.
It was inaugurated by then chief minister Madhu Koda, who ironically became its first high profile inmate.
The new prison can house around 3,500 prisoners, in contrast to the old one that could accommodate only about 650 prisoners but was packed with more than 2,200 convicts and others.
Madhu Koda landed in the jail in November 2009 on corruption charges. He was at centre of a Rs.2,500 crore money laundering scam. He was released two months ago after spending 40 months in prison.
Two former chief ministers of Bihar, Lalu Prasad and Jagganath Mishra, were sent to the jail Monday after a CBI court found them guilty in what has come to be known as the fodder scam.
Four former Jharkhand ministers — Enos Ekka, Harinarayan Rai, Kamlesh Singh and Bhanu Pratap Shahi — were in the jail in different cases.
On Monday, JD-U Lok Sabha MP Jagdish Sharma was also convicted in the fodder scam and jailed.
The jail’s other VIP inmates have included the now suspended IAS official Pradeep Kumar, who was linked to a scandal involving the National Rural Health Mission scam.
Jharkhand Additional Secretary Sajjal Chkravarty was also convicted in the fodder scam and sent to jail. Chakravarty was, however, exonerated by the Jharkhand High Court.
Former Jharkhand Public Service Commission chairman Dileep Kumar and some former members of the commission were also jailed for irregularities in the appointment of officials of the state government.