Mobile phone seizures from Central Jail go on unabated

Mobile phone seizures from Central Jail go on unabated

It has become a major challenge for the jail authorities to check the throwing of prohibited material inside the Central jail. Tribune Photo

Sukhmeet Bhasin

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, November 17

As the seizures of mobile phones from inmates at the Bathinda Jail go on unabated, questions are being raised over the functioning of the jail authorities.

Three such incidents have been reported in the past 10 days. In one of these cases, two police personnel deployed for prison security inside the jail have been caught red-handed supplying mobile phone to a gangster, which clearly indicates that inmates, including gangsters and hardened criminals, are using mobiles with the alleged connivance of the jail staff.

On November 15, a mobile phone was seized from inmate Harjinder Singh of Chak Fateh Singhwala during a checking inside the Central Jail. In the second incident on November 11, jail authorities during a checking, seized a mobile phone from Krishan Kumar of Amarpura Basti.

The third incident was reported on November 7, in which a Punjab Police ASI Pawan Kumar and Constable Maninderjit Singh deployed at the Central Jail was arrested on the charge of supplying a mobile phone and a charger to Naveen Saini, a gangster lodged there.

It is learnt that in the initial probe, it has come out that in return of supplying mobile phone and charger to the gangster, they were supposed to get Rs20,000. They had received Rs5,000 as advance even.

The prohibited material continue to make its way inside the jail premises due to “innovative” ways of inmates and the involvement of insiders. It has become a major challenge for the jail authorities to curb the slipping of the prohibited material inside the jail premises.

In the past three years, more than 100 mobile phones with SIM cards have been seized from various barracks of the jail and cases regarding these seizures were registered at the Nathana and Cantt police stations.

Sources inside the Central Jail said in many cases, relatives of prisoners hand over mobile phones to inmates during their hearings in the court. It is learnt that cell phones helped criminals threaten witnesses, besides making plans to escape from the jail. Sometimes, prisoners extort money while staying in the jail. This was exposed in the killing of gangster Rocky, when gangsters lodged in various jails across the state had uploaded their status over the murder on their Facebook accounts.

The authorities have blamed the shortage of staff and alleged corrupt practices among jail staff due to which jail inmates managed to sneak in mobile phones or other prohibited materials. The project to fit a jammer at the Central Jail to control the usage of mobile phones by inmates remains still on paper due to a lack of funds. In 2012, around Rs4 crore was earmarked to provide modern communication devices to the jail staff.

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