Former Delhi prisons director general Sandeep Goel, who was removed from the post last month and attached to Delhi Police headquarters, was placed under suspension late on Wednesday, according to an order issued by the Union home ministry.
The suspension of the 1989-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer comes after a three-member panel recommended disciplinary action against the officer for his alleged role in allowing “special treatment” to jailed Delhi minister Satyendar Jain.
Goel was transferred out as prisons chief on November 3 but was not given any posting. At Tihar, he was replaced by Sanjay Beniwal.
Delhi lieutenant governor VK Saxena set up a committee of three top bureaucrats after transferring Goel to Delhi Police to probe alleged violation of prison rules by Delhi minister Satyendar Jain (lodged in jail 7) in collusion with prison staff and allegations of corruption against jail officers by another inmate Sukesh Chandrashekhar.
On claims by alleged conman Sukesh Chandrasekhar that he paid ₹12.5 crore to Goel while he was lodged in Tihar, the probe committee recommended a probe by a specialised investigation agency. Goel has dismissed the allegations in the past and said Chandrashekhar levelled the allegations because he acted sternly against the prisoner.
On allegations that Jain, who was the city’s jail minister before his arrest in May this year on charges of money laundering, was extended special treatment by officials, the three-member committee said that they came across a CCTV footage which showed Sandeep Goel visiting Satyendar Jain’s cell on October 6 and talking to him for at least 50 minutes post the lock-up time for prisoners.
The superintendent of jail 7, Ajit Kumar was also suspended on November 14 for giving special facilities to Jain. Kumar too was seen in Jain’s cell post lock-up time of prisoners. Last month, multiple video clips based on CCTV footage that emerged on social media which showed Jain getting a massage from a fellow prisoner and prisoners cleaning his room.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused Jain of violating prison rules and living a “royal life” in prison using his clout when the clips emerged. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) hit back, accusing the BJP of leaking videos and weaving a false narrative.
The alleged violations came to light last month when the Enforcement Directorate informed a Delhi court that prison officials were helping Jain live a a “luxurious life” in prison and was getting face, head and foot massages, fruits and salads as well as meetings with his family members and the witnesses of the case in which he was arrested.