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Punjab: Medical board recommends 7-meal diet chart for jailed Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, jail official terms it ‘seven-star hotel menu’

The food items prescribed the medical board for Sidhu includes rosemary tea, Chamomile tea, kiwi, avocado and various other fruits, vegetables, food items and liquids

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is sentenced by the court to rigorous imprisonment for one year in a 1988 road rage case involving the death of a person, is currently in the Patiala jail. While the one year jail term will not be easy for the cricketer turned politician, he will not have to consume regular jail, thanks to recommendation of a medical board. Navjot Singh Sidhu has been prescribed a diet chart for his health condition, which has been termed a “seven-star hotel menu” by a jails department official.

Navjot Singh Sidhu had sought permission for a special diet to be made available to him from home owing to his health complications. As per the orders of the court of Justice Amit Malhan, a board of doctors was formed at Rajindra Hospital in Patiala to examine Sidhu and submit a report.

Sidhu taken to Rajindra Hospital in Patiala on Monday for medical examination after his counsel moved an application demanding special diet for him. After his examination in the hospital, a three-member medical board comprising Dietician Dr. Ramanjit Kaur, Dr. Ashish Kumar Bhagat (a professor in the medicine department), and Dr. Saurabh Sharma (assistant professor in the cardiology department) prescribed Sidhu a diet chart. Astonishingly, the chart comprises seven meals in a day. The doctors have cited the reasons for his health as the same.

Many social media users mocked this diet chart and termed it torturous. But the jail officials, in fact, have termed it a meal of some seven-star hotel menu. According to a report by The Indian Express, an official of the jail department termed it as a “seven-star hotel menu” meal. The official said, “The officials who had been serving along with me have never had an avocado, one of the fruits recommended in the diet chart. The diet schedule is unheard of and unprecedented.”

Other items in the diet include a cup of Rosemary tea in the morning, a Chamomile tea at bedtime, ample fruits and juices in between along with a single mixed-grain flour Roti. As the medial board was constituted on the order of the court, the jail will have to comply with the recommendations of the board. The court asked the jail superintendent to consider the the medical board report. The court said, “since medical opinion has been given by the team of board of doctors, Superintendent, Central Jail, Patiala is to consider report of the Board of Doctors for providing medicines/special blood thinner diet under Punjab Jail Manual.”

The seven star diet plan

Following is the detailed information on this diet that is provided to a person sentenced to rigorous imprisonment.

Early in the morning, Sidhu gets half a glass of white petha juice or a glass of coconut water along with the above-mentioned cup of Rosemary tea.

For the breakfast, the cricketer turned politician gets according to his diet plan, one cup of lactose-free milk; one tablespoon of flax, sunflower, melon, or chia seeds; 5 to 6 almonds, one walnut, and two pecan nuts.

The mid-morning intake of the Congress leader is stuffed with fruits and vegetable juices of various kinds. It includes one glass of beetroot or Ghia (bottle gourd) or cucumber or mausami (sweet lemon) or Tulsi & Mint leaves or amla (gooseberry) or celery leaves or fresh Haldi (turmeric) or carrot or aloe vera juice. Sidhu can alternatively have one fruit from among watermelon, melon, kiwi, strawberry, guava, apple, and wood apple. He can also opt for sprouted black chana (25 gm) plus green gram dal (25gm) plus kheera (cucumber)/tomato/half lemon/avocado.

This is not even half of the prescribed diet. Sidhu is also advised to take a specific lunch after having all this. His lunch may contain a roti of 30 grams of mixed-grain flour. The ingredients are sorghum, singhara, and ragi flour taken in equal proportions. This roti is to be served with one bowl each of seasonal green vegetables and of cucumber and Ghia raita or one bowl of beetroot raita, a green salad bowl of cucumber, tomato, kakri, lettuce leaves, and half lemon) and one glass of lassi.

In the evening, Sidhu is prescribed to take a cup of 100 ml tea with low-fat milk and no sugar and 25 gm of paneer slice or 25 gm Tofu with half lemon. After this, in the dinner, Navjot Singh Sidhu will be having a bowl of mixed vegetable and dal soup/black chana soup with a 200 gm bowl sprinkled with black pepper powder and consisting of sauteed vegetables (carrot, beans, broccoli, mushroom, bell pepper). Before going to bed, he will get a cup of Chamomile tea and one tablespoon of Psyllium husk with half a glass of warm water.

While there is no detail yet revealed about what kind of work Sidhu will be performing as a part of his rigorous imprisonment, his recommended diet plan is in the public domain. Sidhu is advised to drink 10 to 12 glasses of water per day. He is advised to avoid processed food, and saturated fats (desi ghee, butter, white butter). Instead, the use of olive oil, rice bran oil, mustard oil or cold-pressed mustard, or sunflower oil is recommended. Besides, sprinkling salt on any of the salad foods is prohibited, though a small quantity of iodized salt is permitted. Navjot Singh Sidhu is also advised to do 30 to 45 minutes of exercise every day.

What did the expert doctors find in the medical examinations?

28-year-old Sidhu was examined by a panel of expert doctors who registered their observations and Sidhu’s medical history in the report. According to them, Navjot Singh Sidhu has a history of Pulmonary Embolism in 2009 requiring hospitalization. However, records of that are not available. He also has a history of lower limb DVT (deep vein thrombosis) in 2016 while on warfarin (poor compliance). According to reports, it is currently asymptomatic. The diagnosis of this panel said that Sidhu also has a pulmonary embolism and left leg DVT (old); Hyperhomocysteinimia (a condition where there is greater than 15 micromol/L of homocysteine [a type of amino acid the human body uses to make proteins in the blood]); nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH); and obesity.

Among other tests, the doppler of the left leg showed evidence of recanalized thrombus while fibroscan showed significant fat in the liver with the suggestion of cirrhosis. It is also reported that the reliability of the report is poor due to technical reasons.

What are the court directions?

While noting its observation, the court has cited rule 814 of chapter 32 of the Punjab Jail Manual. The court observed, “Since medical opinion has been given by the team of board of doctors, Superintendent, Central Jail, Patiala is to consider the report of the Board of Doctors for providing medicines/special blood thinner diet under Punjab Jail Manual.”

Punjab’s Jail department’s stand on Sidhu’s diet

Varinder Kumar is the Additional Director General of Police (Jails) of Punjab. He said, “In special conditions, where an inmate is having health complications, the special diet is allowed as per the medical advice. We will go by the provisions in that regard as per the Jail Manual.”

It is notable that Navjot Singh Sidhu was sentenced to a year of rigorous imprisonment and on Friday 20th May 2022 he surrendered in the 34-year-old case. He had moved the application about his diet to the court of the chief judicial magistrate on the same day.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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