Former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram will not find it easy to adjust to the stifling barracks in Tihar jail, which will be a far cry from his air-conditioned lair in North Block.
Of course, he has been allowed the luxury of a separate cell with a wooden cot and an attached toilet with a western commode – one of his demands.
But apart from his clothes, spectacles and medicines, he will not be allowed to carry anything from home. He will also have to eat the jail's staple 'dal-roti' in plastic utensils. He will also be required to attend early morning prayers like all other inmates – many of them rape convicts and economic offenders.
Chidambaram's son Karti Chidambaram was also lodged in the same jail earlier. The 14-day custody means the former finance minister will celebrate his 74th birthday on September 16 behind bars.
On being asked about any specific preparations, Director General of Prisons, Sandeep Goyal, told IANS: "A jail is a jail. We only follow the court's orders. No one is special.
"Chidambaram is facing trial for financial crimes and is also above 70 but Goyal merely said, "We will do what the jail manual says," as he brushed aside any security concerns.
Jail No. 7 houses 600-700 inmates, the majority of whom are jailed for crimes against women though the block has traditionally been used to house economic offenders.In view of his advanced age, Chidambaram will be provided services of a physician to check his blood pressure at night.
He may also be given personal use of the barrack that normally houses 10 inmates.A jail official, when asked how new inmates are woken up in the morning, simply said: "Do you think a high-profile inmate like Chidambaram will be able to get any sleep in the cell on his first night?"
By SANJEEV KUMAR SINGH CHAUHAN