Arthur Road Jail: The high security prison that may house Vijay Mallya

Though the Ministry of Home Affairs has said that Mumbai's Arthur Road jail is one of the best and safest in the country, the prison has been in news for its overcrowded barracks, unhealthy conditions and bloody fights. Here's a look at the British-era jail, which houses many high-profile convicts

The Mumbai Central Prison, also referred to as Arthur Road Jail, is the city's largest and oldest prison. It houses a majority of the city's prisoners. It was upgraded in 1994 to a Central Prison and was given its current official name.

Built in 1926, it was initially meant to be a transit prison, outside city limits. Over the years, the 2.83-acre prison compound is one of the most important landmarks of the city, and houses 2,680 inmates.

The Arthur Road jail is one of the most crowded prisons in India. The British-era jail was built to hold no more than 800 inmates.
As per accounts of former inmates, the cells, barely 3x7 ft., houses five people. There were only four bathrooms inside the barrack, and they are not reportedly cleaned for days.
The jail has witnessed major clashes between inmates. Prison officials say overcrowding and lack of clean toilets and other amenities are to be blamed for such clashes. There are 17 barracks inside the jail and big ones house nearly 300 inmates at a time. There is one egg-shaped cell (Anda cell), which has 31 units and houses most dreaded criminals.
There is one bomb-proof, high-security cell, which once housed Kasab. The cell is now allotted to Abu Jundal, one of the accused in 2008 Mumbai attacks.


Despite overcrowding and other issues, the prison has been an impenetrable fortress. No prisoner has ever been known to break out, and no outsider has ever been able to break in.

The prison is considered as one of the most sensitive prisons in Maharashtra. It houses undertrials and convicts of some of the most high-profile cases. After the 26/11 attack, Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab was kept here in a high security cell.
Other high-profile inmates were gangster Abu Salem, the 2008 Mumbai attacks accused Abu Jundal; Satish Kalia, the sharp shooter for Chhota Rajan who was also accused of journalist J Dey's murder;
Uday Pathak, who has been convicted in four murder cases; Areeb Majeed, an ISIS sympathiser; tax evader Hasan Ali Khan; Mustafa Dossa, alleged Dawood aide, who was deported from Dubai for his role in the 1993 riots; Peter Mukerjea, accused in the Sheena Bora murder conspiracy case, and Vipul Ambani, who was arrested in connection with the PNB fraud, among others.

Though fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya has shown his reservations on being housed in the Arthur Road Jail, fugitive mafia don Dawood Ibrahim has reportedly said he was "keen to return to India" if only he was lodged in the jail, and nowhere else.