Aftab Ansari in 2002
Coffee, milk, butter, cookies, jam and bread of a particular brand for breakfast: a prisoner for life to pleasures of life.
Underworld don and the 2002 American Center attack mastermind Aftab Ansari, currently serving a life term at Alipore jail, has asked the authorities to continue serving him “gourmet” food — medical diet in prison parlance.
He had refused to eat when he felt some of the food served to him was not up to the mark.
The jail authorities have yet to decide on his demands.
Aftab’s demand for a good meal was in sharp contrast to another high-profile prisoner’s reluctance to have even a morsel of food.
Sudipta Sen, the Saradha Group chairman lodged in the number 3 block, seldom utters a word and refuses to have his lunch and dinner. “It is very difficult to make him eat. He just nibbles,” said a jail official.
Aftab aka Farhan Mallik enjoyed better food — in terms of quantity and quality by prison standard — as long as he was a death-row convict. But he lost the rare right on May 21 when the Supreme Court spared him the gallows and made him a “lifer”.
Central intelligence agencies had said Aftab lived a life of pleasure in Dubai before his arrest in 2002. The Varanasi boy who rose through the ranks in the underworld and became used to a flashy lifestyle had announced his food preferences to the jail authorities.
“He told jail officials that the food has to be good, else he would refuse it,” a source said on Monday.
Officers at Alipore jail couldn’t recall when was the last time an inmate had made such demands for food.
“The list is quite long. Aftab wants specific items for breakfast and lunch. He has even identified the brand and the make of some items,” said an official. “He gets upset if there is any deviation from the list.”
“He has made it clear that he won’t accept lemons and bananas with black patches on the skin. He wants paneer, cucumber and extra vegetables. He wants coffee, too.”
He has sought quality pickle, curd and jam, toned milk and sugar-free biscuits — not the usual fare served to prisoners in the jail infirmary. He told jail officials to serve him bread of a particular company.
“Since he is mildly diabetic, he has asked for sugar-free cookies. He won’t touch the Thin Arrowroot biscuits given to undertrials and life convicts,” said an official.
Jail officials said he was not shifted out of the high-security solitary cell in number 1 block despite the apex court commuting his death sentence to life. He has not complained about the solitary confinement but insisted on the medical diet where the items are different, quality is better and portions are larger — including 100 grams of meat and 150 grams of fish.
- Tea bags
- Tomato sauce