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The Delhi High Court Friday awarded compensation of Rs.10 lakh to Nina Pillai, wife of ‘Biscuit King’ Rajan Pillai, on her petition seeking compensation from the central government for his custodial death in Tihar Jail in 1995.

Delivering the judgment, Justice S. Muralidhar said: ‘In these circumstances, it is clear that the lack of medical personnel and the faulty system of Tihar Jail were responsible for the prisoner not being given medical treatment as soon as possible.’

He asked the Delhi government to pay Nina Pillai a compensation of Rs.10 lakh within four weeks, along with Rs.20,000 as litigation cost.

‘The petitioner will deploy the compensation amount in any charitable cause of her choice, as stated by the petitioner,’ the court said.

‘The government will, within a period of three months from today, ensure that the suggestions made by the Leila Seth Commission of Inquiry in its report for improvement of the system at Tihar be adopted,’ Justice Muralidhar added.

Controversial businessman Rajan Pillai, whose takeover of Britannia Industries earned him the title of ‘Biscuit King’, was arrested in New Delhi July 3, 1995, in an extradition-related case for an alleged corporate offence in Singapore.

While in judicial custody at Tihar Jail, he was shifted to the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Hospital due to health problems, where he succumbed.

Earlier, the government argued that Pillai died due to excessive drinking and improper medical treatment, but not due to custodial torture as alleged.

In her petition, Nina Pillai claimed that her husband was a ‘sad victim of potent admixture of brutality, torture, atrocity, insensitivity, recklessness and negligence’ of the state.


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