Outsmarting guards and hoodwinking surveillance cameras, many inmates have been smuggling drugs and mobile phones into Punjab’s prisons by hiding the stuff where no one would look usually — their body cavities.
The Punjab jail authorities have prepared a report that suggests that since 2012, 297 inmates, including women, were caught trying to get contraband and handsets into the state’s 26 jails; and in 40 of these cases, the stuff was removed from inside their private parts. Punjab’s additional director general of police (prisons) Raj Pal Meena said the trick had become frequent over the past two years, especially since closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras have come up in jails.
“Dog squads have played a significant role in sniffing the drugs from the cavities of the inmates. We have proposed installing body scanners for detection but, so far, even our airports don’t have these machines,” said Meena, adding that inmates had moved on from hiding drugs in vegetables, shoes, milk products, turbans, and the seams of clothes. Murder convict Ranjit Singh, lodged in the Ludhiana central jail, died trying to smuggle in three bundles of beeri in his cavity. “He brought the stuff inside but soon developed severe pain. At hospital, doctors found his secret and that one packet of the tobacco product had got dissolved into his blood, which proved to be fatal,” said a jail superintendent.
In another case from the Kapurthala jail, a woman, Manpreet Kaur, came to see her husband, Vicky. When she was searched, she was found to be carrying 10 grams of drugs in her private part. She said she had done it for her husband. An inmate said he had stolen the idea from movies and a television show he had watched during parole.
“I saw on screen how they concealed drugs inside the stomach,” he said. Another prisoner said fellow inmates had encouraged him to use the method to make good money. “We hide SIM cards in the back of our teeth,” said another prisoner.
In the Amritsar central jail, Gursawak Singh, a man under trial, was caught with 1,700 milligrams of drugs in his cavity after he came back from meeting his family; and visitor Sanjeev Kumar, who had come to see a relative, was caught with 4.5 grams of drug in the cavity.
Woman prisoner Kajol tried to smuggle three packets of tobacco and `2,500 cash by hiding it in her cavity but was caught at women’s jail in Ludhiana after she was returning from hospital. At the Gurdaspur Central Jail, Passo, a woman under trial, was caught with three packets of beeri hidden in her breasts. Dr Rajinder Sharma, who had earlier served the jail department, said: “Drugs carried in private parts can get dissolved in the blood stream and lead to poisoning. Carry mobile phones in the cavity it can cause local injury that can turn grievous.”