Ruby's jail stint: 'cool & brave'

Ruby Rai, the arrested intermediate arts topper, has confounded authorities at Beur Central Jail with her "cool and brave" demeanour.

By Joy Sengupta
  • Published 30.06.16
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Ruby Rai, the arrested intermediate arts topper, has confounded authorities at Beur Central Jail with her "cool and brave" demeanour.

Jail sources said the girl, whose age remains a mystery with neither police nor the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) quite sure of it, has been scanning the newspapers since her arrest on Saturday and keeping herself abreast with the developments related to the intermediate topper scam.

Ruby Rai

Ruby was arrested after she flunked a re-exam conducted by the BSEB. She is the only one of the intermediate toppers to be in custody. The others, and their family members, are all absconding, as are Ruby's parents.

The sources added that Ruby had not approached the authorities with any request or wish to meet her absconding parents or other family members.

"She has been putting up a cool and brave face and there seems to be no stress. She has been adjusting well though no special privileges have been given to her. She goes through the newspapers once a while and has been mixing with the 35 other inmates lodged in the ward where she has been kept. Her actions inside the prison are like any another simple girl," an official at the Beur Central Jail told The Telegraph on condition of anonymity as he doesn't have the authorisation to speak to the media.

"Until now, she has not made any requests to the jail authorities in connection with meeting her family. We guess she is bold. We are told that she is also watching television. We only air the national channel in the jail and she is watching it. She has not complained about the food which is served here. She has not troubled anyone," the official said.

Binda Singh, a clinical psychologist in Patna, said she was surprised by Ruby's attitude. "She has no guilt feeling and in certain ways, her acts are very strange. Any person would have broken down under such kind of pressure and might have slipped into depression or started having panic attacks and fear psychosis. It could be that her family environment is such that serious things are not affecting her," Singh said.

Rights activists are miffed with the government for arresting Ruby.

Vinay Kanth, the national general secretary of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), said the state machinery had handled Ruby with utter insensitivity and negligence.

"If at all she is a minor, it is gross violation of the rules related to the juvenile justice act. Why didn't the police verify her age and announce it in the first place? It is quite an easy job for the police. Even if she isn't a minor, the authorities have hurt her pride and dignity. This case needed to be handled differently and sensitively. Her parents are responsible for it and not she. Why didn't the state government make sure that people like Lalkeshwar (Prasad Singh) is not made the BSEB chairman in the first place?" Kanth said.

Lalkeshwar, his wife Usha Sinha and Bachcha Rai, the owner-principal of Vishun Roy College, Vaishali, are said to be the three masterminds of the scam. All of them are in custody. Ruby, like the other toppers, was a student at Vishun Roy College. Police sources have told The Telegraph that Ruby's father had struck a land deal with Bachcha in lieu of ensuring "top result" for his daughter.

The police are still hunting for the other toppers and their families. Today, they moved court for permission to issue proclamation notices against the toppers and their families.

Once the police get the notices, they will be put up at their respective residences. If they fail to appear before the police within the given time, the police will start the process of property attachment. "The police have started acting against the toppers and their family members. Also, the regional heads of different banks have been contacted so that the police get all details regarding the accounts of the accused, especially Lalkeshwar, Bachcha Rai and Usha Sinha. Once the details are with us, the police will initiate the process of freezing those accounts. We have also contacted the registration office to know whether the trust of Bachcha was registered or not. It has come to fore that some of the answer-sheets of Ruby are missing and the board has been asked about it," Patna superintendent of police (central) Chandan Khuswaha said.

Prayas Juvenile Aid Centre, an NGO, today appeared on behalf of Ruby in the court claiming she was a minor and produced a document (admission form of Vishun Roy College) in which her date of birth is shown as November 15, 1998. However, the court has directed them to produce concrete evidence in this regard.