Cites His Ordeal After Being Wrongly Jailed For Net Crime
Ketan Tanna | TNN
The Bangalore-based software engineer Lakshmana Kailash K, who was wrongly jailed for 50 days last year by the cyber cell of the Pune police, has demanded Rs 20 crore in damages and slapped a legal notice on the various parties involvedâ€”from telecom giant Bharti Airtel to principal secretary (home) Maharashtra government and the assistant commissioner of police (financial & cyber crime unit), Pune.
Lakshmana had been falsely accused of an internet crimeâ€”posting unseemly pictures of Chhatrapati Shivaji on the webâ€”and was arrested on the basis of an IP address (internet connection number) supplied to the police by his internet provider, Bharti. As it turned out, the IP address was not his, but by the time the police confirmed this and acted on it, he had already spent 50 harrowing days in Yerwada Jail with hardened criminals, lathi beatings, and a bowl which he had to eat out of and use in the toilet as well.
Lakshmanaâ€™s nightmarish experience, first reported in TOI on November 3, 2007, sparked condemnation on the web worldwide with internet communities posting their outrage at policing systems in India.The young techieâ€™s ten-page legal notice, a copy of which have been sent to the National Human Rights Commission, not only vents his anger at the arbitrary way in which the police and judicial system made nonsense of the human rights guaranteed him by a democracy but also highlights the degrading conditions within the jail, where three toilets are shared by 400 convicts who chuck stones at the person inside if he takes a minute longer. All 38 jails in Maharashtra are known to be seriously overcrowdedâ€”Yerwadaâ€™s capacity is 24,000 but it houses 37,000 prisoners.
The legal notice accuses the officials of the telecommunication giant of criminal negligenceâ€”first, for giving the wrong IP address, and secondly, for sharing the personal details of their client with the police. Responding to the notice, a spokesperson for Bharti Airtel said, â€œWe fully understand the customerâ€™s pain and have been in touch with him. However, the matter is sub-judice and we are unable to comment further.â€™â€™