Video of jailed Delhi politician getting foot massage sparks row over conditions for VIP inmates

A video of an imprisoned Indian politician getting a massage from another prison inmate has sparked a row over the treatment of VIP prisoners even as reports emerged that the masseur in the video is a rape accused.

Satyendar Jain, a local legislator in Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) Delhi government, has been lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail over charges of money laundering.

But in recent days, the minister attracted severe criticism after a video of him getting a massage in his jail cell was released by prime minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

While the AAP insisted these were “physiotherapy sessions”, the claims have become mired in further controversy after media reports identified the person giving the massage as Rinku, a prisoner booked for raping his own daughter.

The accused was arrested last year after his daughter accused him of assaulting her, reported NDTV.

The CCTV videos, dated 13, 14 and 21 September are now the subject of a fierce political row between the two parties in the run-up to the Delhi civic elections scheduled for next month, with the BJP hitting out at their political rival by calling it a “spa and massage party”.

“[Chief minister Arvind] Kejriwal was supposed to safeguard his citizens; rather he is safeguarding his ministers,” said BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia.

Asking the AAP to apologise to the nation, Mr Bhatia demanded that the party should sack the minister. “If Arvind Kejriwal is too weak to dismiss Satyendar Jain, then CM should resign.”

Mr Jain’s party, however, has maintained silence amid the claims surrounding the identity of the inmate.

The clips emerged days after the federal anti-money laundering agency, the Enforcement Directorate, informed the court about the minister receiving special treatment in Tihar jail.

“Unknown persons were giving massages and foot massages to Jain, even beyond curfew hours. He was given special food,” additional solicitor general SV Raju told the court last week.

The incident led to the transfer of 12 prison officials, including Director General (prisons) Sandeep Goel, as Tihar jail officials confirmed that prisoners are not allowed to indulge in “personal work”.

The video also did not go down well with most social media users, as the minister and party were widely slammed.

“[Kejriwal and company] frowned upon VVIP treatment, corruption, waste of taxpayers’ money on politics/ politicians/ political ads... once in power, they not only do all of it but are so brazen about it. Holier-than-thou usually turn out to be the worst of them all,” wrote a user.

“What fun politicians have at our expense. Cute,” wrote journalist Sadhana Yadav.